Karim Benzema says that he has become more ambitious since Cristiano Ronaldo left Real Madrid, although he does credit the Portuguese star for guiding him in the years when the two were team-mates in Spain.
After reaching unprecedented heights with Real Madrid, Ronaldo left the club to join Juventus in 2018 after nine years with the Spanish giants.
And, in the years since, Benzema has more than capably filled the role of the club's primary goalscorer as he has admitted he had to fine-tune himself after Ronaldo's exit.
What did Benzema say?
“It’s true that I’ve scored more goals since he left, but when he was here I was assisting and he helped me a lot on and off the pitch," he said at a press conference ahead of the UEFA Super Cup.
"But, I knew I could do more. When he left, it was time to change my play and ambition and so far it’s going well.”
Benzema's rise at Real Madrid
Although he originally joined from Lyon in 2009, he largely remained in Ronaldo's shadow, hitting the 20 league goal mark just twice before Ronaldo's departure in 2018.
He's scored at least 21 in each of the last four seasons since, netting 131 times in all competitions while helping Madrid lift the Champions League trophy last season.
In recent years, Benzema has been hailed as one of the best players, if not the best player, in the world, although the man himself wasn't willing to weigh in on that debate.
“I’m not going to say if I’m the best or not," he said. "But, each year I try to give my maximum for the best club in the world. I have to play to a high level every year, but it’s true that last year’s level was very good. I just try to help my team in the matches.
"I’m not thinking about Marcelo’s record, but I’m going to try to win as many trophies as possible. I’ve always said that the collective trophies are more important than the individual ones.”