Karim Benzema has suggested that he feels he was able to take his game to another level after Cristiano Ronaldo left Real Madrid.
Ronaldo spent nearly a decade in the Spanish capital as the club's undisputed star, with Benzema a perfect front-three foil.
Yet since the Portuguese forward departed for Juventus in 2018, Benzema has further elevated his individual game, producing arguably his four best seasons at the club.
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The favourite for the 2022 Ballon d'Or, the French striker's 44 goals powered Carlo Ancelotti's side to La Liga and Champions League triumph last season.
Ahead of the UEFA Super Cup against Eintracht Frankfurt in Helsinki, Benzema hailed the impact of his former team mate on his career, but admitted his personal "ambitions" changed when Ronaldo left the club.
“It’s been different for me since Cristiano Ronaldo left Real Madrid," Benzema explained.
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“It’s true that I’ve scored many more goals, but when Cristiano was here, we had a different style of play, I was providing more assists. He really helped me on and off the pitch.
“But at that time, I did know that I could do more and when he left, it was the time to change my game, change my ambitions and I am doing that well at the moment.”
Benzema and Ronaldo joined the club in the summer of 2009, and spent nine seasons alongside one another.
The Frenchman has been elevated to club captain this year after the departure of Marcelo.
The 34-year-old striker batted away a question asking if he was the best player in the world, insisting he was more focused on the success of the team.
“I’m not going to say if I’m the best or not," Benzema said. "But, each year I try to give my maximum for the best club in the world.
"I have to play to a high level every year, but it’s true that last year’s level was very good.
"I just try to help my team in the matches. I’m not thinking about Marcelo’s record, but I’m going to try to win as many trophies as possible.
"I’ve always said that the collective trophies are more important than the individual ones.”
The Super Cup will be the first meeting between the two clubs since the final of the 1960 European Cup at Hampden Park.
On that occasion, two other prolific Real Madrid goalscorers powered the club to victory, with Ferenc Puskas scoring four and Alfredo Di Stefano three in a 7-3 win.
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