…and Karim Benzema!
Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo hit the headlines this summer with his mega-money transfer to Juventus. Ronaldo has been linked with a move away from Real Madrid for quite some time but his £105 million move to Turin still came as quite a shock for the football world.
A New Beginning
Cristiano Ronaldo spend nine fruitful years at Santiago Bernabeu. He lifted his fourth Champions League trophy in five years with Los Blancos in 2018 but his complicated relationship with club president Florentino Perez has been underlying his decision to move on.
As a player slightly – or overly – edging towards an egocentric focus, Cristiano Ronaldo did not feel he was valued enough and ended up leaving for a club whose supporters gave him a standing ovation over a bicycle kick goal months earlier.
Cristiano Ronaldo has long been the epicenter of all things related to Real Madrid, often pushing his own teammates away from the spotlight.
With him out of the picture, however, he now have a new-look Real Madrid with superstars such as Gareth Bale – and especially Karim Benzema – emerging from the Portuguese forward’s shadow.
Bale and Benzema Bursting with Confidence
Three games into the new season it might be too early to draw conclusions, but there are some obvious signs that can’t be disregarded. It seems as if the air is lighter at Real Madrid and the atmosphere has changed. The smiles look more sincere, hugs and kisses after each goal more heartwarming and honest. The players – dare we say it – look happier.
Gareth Bale has scored or assisted in each of his last seven games for Real Madrid.
⚽️ vs. Barcelona
⚽️⚽️ vs. Celta Vigo
⚽️ vs. Villarreal
⚽️⚽️ vs. Liverpool
🅰️ vs. Atlético
⚽️ vs. Getafe
⚽️ vs. Girona
Unleash the Dragon. 🐉 pic.twitter.com/FzMBmmyEnU
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 26, 2018
With seven strikes between them in three league games, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema seem to be in top form early in the season. The Welshman bagged a goal in each of the three matches of the new season – and also scored or assisted in all of his last 11 matches for Real Madrid as suggested by Squawka – whereas the Frenchman has one more on his tally despite firing blank at the league opener against Getafe.
Back-to-back braces in respective 4-1 victories over Girona and Leganes have put a firm focus on karim Benzema who has been under heavy criticism over the past couple of seasons.
Julen Lopetegui heaped praise on his frontman, calling him ‘totally focused, alert and decisive’ as Benzema enjoys his best-ever start in a Real Madrid shirt.
It’s been a while Benzema looked that way on the pitch and we dare say it’s all because of the fact Cristiano Ronaldo is not here to stand in his way. Naturally a striker, Karim Benzema was forced to work hard to accommodate Ronaldo’s presence in the attack and was often seen passing to his Portuguese teammate in a situation when a striker of his caliber is expected to score an easy goal.
Benzema scored 5 goals in four matches across all competitions in the new season and his conversion rate of a goal from 2.2 attempts is a stark contrast to his previous record of hitting the mark from every 5.1 attempts.
While Cristiano Ronaldo is yet to find the net, Karim Benzema is having his best ever start at Real Madrid. pic.twitter.com/miqjyvlCDw
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) September 3, 2018
Can Benzema Inspire Real Madrid to Glory?
With Julen Lopetegui at the helm and Mariano with Ronaldo’s iconic 7 at the back, Real Madrid are starting a new chapter.
Without the Portuguese – who is yet to score for his new club Juventus – Karim Benzema has seriously stepped up his game. The player who netter five goals in 32 league games last term is one step from matching the record already and there’s no doubt he will be bursting with confidence heading further into the campaign.
Real Madrid are given the early betting odds of 13/8 to lift the La Liga trophy this year and it’s fair to say the club’s hopes of grabbing the silverware will rest on Benzema (and Bale)’s shoulders.
Can they handle the pressure?
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