The ex-Real Madrid manager explains how Karim Benzema emerged from Cristiano Ronaldo’s shadow


Karim Benzema has emerged from Cristiano Ronaldo’s shadow at Real Madrid and her former coach Aitor Karanka now believes the striker deserves every accolade

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Former Real Madrid assistant coach Aitor Karanka has explained how Karim Benzema came about Cristiano Ronaldo Shadow to become the club’s natural leader.

The Frenchman scored a stunning hat-trick as Madrid beats Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League. A quick second-half hat-trick by Benzema turned the tie in the hosts’ favor with a comeback Described as “magical” by Boss Ancelotti. The 34-year-old former Lyon forward has found himself in the best form of his career. Karanka described it as “aged like a fine wine”.

Karanka, who now works as a pundit at LaLigaTV and as a technical analyst for UEFA, coached the two attacking superstars and club legends during his tenure as to’s assistant Jose Mourinho between 2010 and 2013. The highlight was the 2011/12 season when Madrid won the league title by breaking several records including 100 points in a single season, a record 121 goals scored and a goal difference of +89, a record of 16 away wins and 32 wins overall.

Ronaldo was the superstar among superstars – the Portuguese striker scored an incredible 450 goals in just 438 first-team appearances real Madrid. Benzema – whose Madrid career spanned 13 seasons – is now up to 311 goals, third on the top scorers list and just 12 behind second-placed Raul.

The Frenchman has always been a prolific goalscorer but has fully paid off in terms of goals and league table since Ronaldo’s departure. Four of Benzema’s top-scoring six seasons have passed since Ronaldo’s departure juventus 2018 – he had only scored 12 goals in the 2017/18 season but his numbers for the season since have been 30, 27 and 30 – while this time he’s at 32 and counting.

Karanka coached both Ronaldo and Benzema during his tenure at Los Blancos and he has now spoken about the Frenchman’s character, claiming he now has the status and quality to be crowned the world’s best player this year.

Have your say! Is Karim Benzema the best striker in the world? Tell us what you think here.

Ronaldo and Benzema won four Champions League titles along with Real Madrid


Angel Martinez/Real Madrid via Getty Images)

Only speak to mirror football Ahead of Sunday’s El Clasico, Karanka said: “I think Karim can definitely win the Ballon d’Or because of what he has achieved and continues to achieve at Real Madrid. He’s almost scored more goals than anyone.

“Karim is a real character – he’s a bit shy and sometimes you don’t realize he’s around. He will think of himself, but not in a selfish way, but in terms of how he can improve. He was often criticized when he was young for not scoring enough goals and for not having a lot of pressure – he also played alongside Cristiano.

“The key moment for Karim was when Cristiano left. His body language can fool you if you don’t know him but I knew he would replace Cristiano as the leader of this team. It has aged like a fine wine. Just his presence on the pitch is important to his teammates and he can win any individual award.”

Ronaldo and Benzema – who are embracing as rivals at Euro 2020 – have remained friends following their successes with Real Madrid


Dmitriy Golubovich/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Benzema went almost four years without a goal against Barcelona before netting in Real Madrid’s home win over the Blaugrana late last season and scoring against the same opponents in the Spanish Supercopa semifinals earlier this month. He will be hoping to lead another Madrid triumph against bitter rivals in Sunday’s league game in the Spanish capital.

Don’t miss ElClásico this Sunday exclusively on LaLigaTV, available in the UK via Premier Sports and Amazon Prime Video Channels.

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