3 reasons why Karim Benzema’s Real Madrid legacy will be bigger than Cristiano Ronaldo’s

Real Madrid, Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema (Photo by Sonia Canada/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema (Photo by Sonia Canada/Getty Images) /
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There was a time at Real Madrid when the fans were so annoyed with Karim Benzema’s finishing that they would jeer him at the Bernabeu and call for his head. This seems unfathomable now as Benzema has transformed himself into a beast in front of the goal. He is the talisman of this Real Madrid, leader on the pitch, and the hero of Bernabeu. His stature at Real Madrid has been enhanced by the incredible hattrick he scored to lead Real Madrid to a comeback victory against PSG in the Champions League.

Real Madrid’s victory at Bernabeu had shades of the Remondata against Wolfsburg in the 2016 Champions League quarterfinals. Back then it was Cristiano Ronaldo with the goals and now the onus was on Benzema to steer the ship. Ironically it was Ronaldo who would pacify the jeering crowd and request them to respect Benzema at the Bernabeu. Ronaldo just like Benzema today was the leader of Real Madrid and would carry the team on his shoulders in the big games.

Half a decade later, while Benzema’s name still echoes at the Bernabeu, Ronaldo jumped ship to the first move to Juventus and then at Manchester United. So now it raises a question. Will Benzema’s legacy at Real Madrid will ever be greater than Cristiano Ronaldo? Let us dwell deep to find out.

1. Karim Benzema’s longevity at Real Madrid

Benzema arrived at the club as a promising 21-year-old striker from Lyon. 13 seasons later, he is sixth on the list of all-time appearances for Real Madrid. Not only that he is third on the list of all-time top scorers for Los Blancos. This is a staggering record for a player who, to be honest, has for major parts of his career been in the shadows of Cristiano Ronaldo.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s achievements at Real Madrid are unparalleled. He is Real Madrid’s biggest match-winner of all time without even an iota of doubt. The fact that Real Madrid has not won the Champions League since his departure shows his significance. This is not a debate of Ronaldo’s legacy at Real Madrid.

However, Ronaldo has been gone for four seasons now. And there are no signs of Benzema slowing down. We could argue he has elevated his game a level with each passing season. He is contracted to Real Madrid till 2023. His countryman, Kylian Mbappe is about to join him at the club next season. Surely we fans must expect to relish their partnership for a couple of seasons before Real Madrid moves on from Benzema.

Almost 15 years at a club of the stature of Real Madrid requires courage and heart. Benzema has faced criticism, boos, and relentless pressure to perform week in week out. However, he has stayed put. This calls for respect and adulation.