Real Madrid – Manchester City: what if we stop at the CR7 myth that kept Karim Benzema at the Merengue?

Football is full of ukraines fantasized by its fans. Sometimes in denial of failure, often to wipe out the frustrations of broken promises. Ah, if Hatem Ben Arfa had been better surrounded, if Ronaldinho had had the lifestyle of CR7, if Ronaldo hadn’t had foam knees, if Pele had played in the 21st century, if Maradona hadn’t turned his nose into the flour … The latest fashion? If Karim Benzema hadn’t had Cristiano Ronaldo in his hands for nine years at Real Madrid, what would have happened?

The answers vary depending on the person, and the most imaginative will tell you that it would count x Ballon d’Or and many goals, as if his Portuguese partner had stolen 450 goals from him which, added to the good hundred made by KB9 since the beginning of CR7 , would make him the greatest player in the history of Real and probably of the sport. Let’s not exaggerate, this is what has been heard and said since the French striker flew over the Bernabeu, where he seems able to eliminate whoever he wants with a snap of his fingers, like Thanos in Infinity War. PSG? Check (in a quarter of an hour flat). Chelsea? Check. Manchester City? Not super serene despite the advance of a goal before the second leg.

He is not from us, but from Ilkay Gundogan: “Currently for me Benzema is, with Lewandowski, the best striker in the world. For a long time he has been overshadowed by Cristiano Ronaldo especially in the media, but now he is finally getting the attention and recognition he deserves. “Ah, see? We always end up coming back.

The answer to this idea received is however very simple, with a little intellectual honesty, which has Francisco Javier Sánchez Palomares, editor-in-chief of the Madrid website La Galerna. It is impossible to know what would have happened if Cristiano had not been there because it did not happen. “Simple. Logic would have us stop here, but all of this lacks salt, so let’s dig deeper.

What does Karim Benzema say (comment collected by The group, early 2022): “I wasn’t like, ‘Ah, I have to give him all the balls.” I was playing but the guy scored a brace. That’s the truth, you can’t help it. […] We won a lot of titles, I really enjoyed it. To think this way is to think individually, “Ah, because he was there, na na na”. No, it’s the other way around. With him I won all my Champions League, championships, we scored I don’t know how many goals, we were part of the magic trio (with Gareth Bale). “

Air holes unrelated to Ronaldo

“Given CR7’s individual contribution to Benzema and the Real Madrid collective, Benzema would not have gone higher in Real’s history without CR7, acknowledges Jotha Perez, of the much-followed digital media Real France. The Portuguese contributed implausibly to Real Madrid’s recent record and Benzema simply ‘put himself at his disposal’ to make the club shine. Benzema wouldn’t have been as high in history without the CR7 but the latter wouldn’t have been as high without Benzema either. These two men went hand in hand during the brilliant years ”.

We also remember that the trajectory of the former Lyonnais at Real has not always been linear without having to do with his bodybuilder friend.

– 2011: Back from vacation overweight

– 2013: he scored 11 goals in La Liga and saw Alvaro Morata consume playing time

– 2017-18: Only five goals in La Liga, a period of scarcity during which we ourselves no longer knew what to invent to defend him, even if it meant pushing the theory to the pinnacle that, of course, he did not score, but pfiou, z you saw all the spaces that free for CR7?

It is also during this difficult season that the French international makes the beginning of his impressive metamorphosis that will lead him to have the BMI of Eliud Kipchoge (seven kilos lost in a year at the beginning, not bad). Jotha sees the seal of CR7 there:

“The sense of work, rigor, hygiene and self-transcendence of the Portuguese influenced the former Lyonnais. I still remember Karim’s first pre-season photo on the medical table as is customary in Madrid where we see him a bit fat, with a physical shape far from those of the last few seasons. The metamorphosis of him, the slab of him come from this influence, it is inevitable. The director of La Galerna agrees: “Cristiano, through his advice, helped Benzema to be more professional and ambitious. “

CR7 out of range, but Benzema loved it more

The student ended up overtaking the teacher. On the pitch, and despite the Portuguese’s good season with a deadly Manchester United, there aren’t many people to refute the idea that Benzema is the best striker, or even the best player in the world right now. . His half-chance goal and his Panenka from the first leg against City alone crystallize the attacker’s unlimited confidence in his own abilities, a precious asset in this position. And let’s not even talk about his weight in a team capable of beating anyone with the Frenchman on the lawn like being punched by a convalescent Barça in his absence.

A word from Ancelotti about his crack, anyway? “He has always been good, but now he stands out more because he is more decisive in the team. Over the years Karim has affirmed his personality; on and off the pitch, he has improved his leadership role. A role he has partly taken up again. from Cristiano Ronaldo, in fact (later Sergio Ramos). Before stealing his all-time record of 17 goals in a Champions League campaign? The Frenchman is only three goals from his former team-mate. In two games nothing impossible. I have to still being able to reach the final, and this is the focus of Wednesday night’s game.

We are (very) optimistic: Real pass, win the final, Benzema once again raises the LdC by beating the CR7 record and is crowned with the Ballon d’Or. Enough to become the last Bernabeu legend? “Di Stéfano and Cristiano are out of reach, calm Francisco Javier Sánchez Palomares. But Karim will have more and more affection from Cristiano’s Bernabeu, because he has bonded more to the public. »KB9 1, CR7 0.

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