Real Madrid – Manchester City: What if we stopped with the myth of CR7 who restrained Karim Benzema at the Merengue?

Football is full of uchronias fantasized by its supporters. Sometimes out of denial of failure, often to sweep away the frustrations born 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 Pelé had played in the 21st century, if Maradona hadn’t screwed up his nose in the flour… The latest in 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 he would count x Ballon d’Or and so many goals, as if his Portuguese partner had stolen 450 goals from him which, added to the good hundred scored by KB9 since the start of CR7, would make him the greatest player in the history of Real and probably of this sport. We are hardly exaggerating, this is what has been heard and said since the French striker flies over the Bernabeu, where he seems able to eliminate whoever he wants with the snap of his fingers, Thanos style 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 semi-final return.

It’s 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 was overshadowed by Cristiano Ronaldo especially in the media, but now he is finally getting the attention and recognition he deserves. “Oh, you see? We always end up coming back.

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

What Karim Benzema says about it (comment collected by The Team, early 2022): “I wasn’t like, ‘Ah, I have to give him all the balls. “I was playing but the guy scored twice. It’s the truth, you can’t do anything about it. […] We won a lot of titles, I really enjoyed myself. To think like that is to think individually: “Ah, because he was there, na na na.” No, it’s the opposite. I won all my Champions Leagues with him, 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 the individual contribution of CR7 on Benzema and on the Real Madrid collective, Benzema would not have gone higher in the history of Real without CR7, recognizes Jotha Perez, of the very followed digital media Real France. The Portuguese has been an implausible contributor to Real Madrid’s recent record and Benzema has simply ‘put himself at his disposal’ to make the club shine. Benzema would not have been higher in history without CR7 but the latter would not have been so high without Benzema either. These two men went hand in hand during the brilliant years”.

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

– 2011: Returned from vacation overweight

– 2013: Scores 11 goals in La Liga and sees Alvaro Morata eat up 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 to its climax the theory that, of course, he did not score, but pfiou, z have you seen all the spaces it frees up for CR7?

It is also during this difficult season that the French international operates the beginning of his impressive metamorphosis which will lead him to have the BMI of Eliud Kipchoge (seven kilos lost in one year to start, 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 the first pre-season photo of Karim on the medical table as is customary in Madrid where we see him a little fat, with a physical form far from those of recent seasons. Its metamorphosis, its slab come from this influence, it is inevitable. The editor-in-chief of La Galerna agrees: “Cristiano, through his advice, helped Benzema to be more professional and ambitious. »

CR7 out of reach, but Benzema loved more

The student ended up surpassing the master. On the pitch, and despite the Portuguese’s good season with a cadaverous Manchester United, there are not many people to refute the idea that Benzema is the best striker, or even the best player in the world at the moment. . His half-chance goal and his Panenka from the first leg against City alone crystallize the striker’s unlimited confidence in his abilities, a precious commodity 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 pummeled by a convalescent Barça in his absence.

A word from Ancelotti about his crack, anyway? “He’s always been good, but now he stands out more because he’s 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 that he partly took over from Cristiano Ronaldo, precisely (then Sergio Ramos). Before stealing his absolute record of 17 goals in a Champions League campaign? The Frenchman is only three goals behind his former teammate. In two games, nothing impossible. Still need to be able to reach the final, and that’s the whole point of Wednesday night’s match.

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

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