Real Madrid star Karim Benzema has insisted that he did not play the role of Cristiano Ronaldo's deputy during their time together at the Spanish club.
The talented pair were instrumental in the success that Madrid enjoyed over the past decade but there were many who were of the opinion that Ronaldo was the main star, with Benzema being second in command.
Indeed, the pair won numerous trophies together and despite Ronaldo having scored more times than Benzema, the Frenchman has dismissed the suggestion that he played a more superior role.
What's been said?
Benzema told France Football: "It (the role Benzema played alongside Ronaldo) wasn't a deputy, it wasn't that. I didn't say to myself: 'Ah, I have to give him the ball all the time'. I was playing well but he was scoring twice [each game]. It's the truth, you can't do anything about it.
"Since he left for Juve, I took over in my own way and it's going well. I don't play like Cristiano Ronaldo, and he doesn't play like Karim Benzema.
"He didn't stop me from being the best version of myself. We won a lot of games, I had a lot of fun. To think like that is to be too individual. I won it all with him. The Champions League, many championships, we scored I don't know how many goals, we were part of the magic trio with [Gareth] Bale, there were a lot of very good moments and I don't see any bad ones."Getty Images
How many goals did Ronaldo & Benzema score at Real Madrid?
Both Ronaldo and Benzema arrived in Madrid in the summer of 2009 and have collectively scored a remarkable 752 goals, though the latter has spent more time in Spain.
The former Juventus man was responsible for a staggering 450 goals in just 438 matches, while Benzema has netted 302 times so far, in his 585 games for the club.
The Frenchman, meanwhile, netted 192 times during the period 2009 to 2018, when both players were on Madrid's books, meaning that the total goals Benzema and Ronaldo managed between them during their time together at the club was 642.
What trophies did Ronaldo & Benzema win together?
Ronaldo and Benzema won the Champions League four times together, with the former's last game for the Spanish club coming in the final win over Liverpool back in 2018.
The duo also won La Liga, the Spanish Cup, and the Spanish Super Cup twice each, along with the UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup three times each.
Benzema has since won an additional La Liga, Spanish Super Cup, and FIFA Club World Cup.
How have Benzema & Ronaldo performed this season?
Benzema has been in fine form this season and is proving instrumental in Real Madrid's title charge, netting 23 goals in 26 appearances across all competitions.
His numbers have undoubtedly improved since Ronaldo's departure and he has become an experienced leader in the Madrid dressing room.
Ronaldo, meanwhile, is Manchester United's top scorer since returning to the club from Juventus in 2021.
The Portuguese has scored 14 goals in 21 games in all competitions, and has admitted that he is looking to continue playing until he's at least 42 years old.