Karim Benzema (Real Madrid): “I may be better now”

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Karim Benzema (Real Madrid): “I may be better now”

“In your opinion, why did it take you so long to win such an individual trophy?
Why so much time? I don’t know, it’s possible that I’m better now, that I play better. This year has been the best of my career on a personal level, but when I enter the field, I think of the collective and I knew that the collective aspect was going to lead me to this. It is clear that this Champions League has been the most difficult (of his five coronations, Editor’s note) with Paris, then Chelsea, then Manchester City. They were important, difficult matches for us, but we didn’t give up and we always fought. So without doubt it is the most difficult, and the most beautiful.

How has stepping out of the shadow of Cristiano Ronaldo, who left Real Madrid in 2018, freed you?
With Cristiano I played for many years (2009-2018) and he helped me a lot. With him, I had a different role, I had to deliver more assists. When he left, I knew I could take a step forward. I continued to play as I knew how to do but with a higher level of goals and assists. What has changed is that goalscoring stat, but my game has been the same since I was a kid.

“I have nothing to show anyone, I don’t play football for that. […] I play football because I love football”

After this memorable year, you still have a great challenge with the 2022 World Cup in Qatar this fall (November 20-December 18). A major trophy with the Blues, is that what you need to confirm your new status?
I have nothing to show anyone, I don’t play football for that… I play football because I love football. Trophies like those of the season that just happened, the Champions League, the Super Cup, the Championship, these are incredible things. Afterwards, the national team is something else, another group, another world. There is the possibility of playing a World Cup and I hope to be in the group. I will play hard.

Win it? Of course I want to win the World Cup but how many teams, how many players want to win it? It’s still dreams, quite simply, whether it’s the World Cup, the Champions League, an individual trophy like this or the Ballon d’Or, these are dreams when you’re a kid. And there today to get closer, to be able to participate in the World Cup, it is something extraordinary. »

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