Ronaldo is not selfish, insists Benzema

Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema of Real Madrid warm up Source: Getty Images

Karim Benzema insists that Real Madrid team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo is not a selfish player, despite his eagerness to go for goal whenever possible.

The Portugal star has been tipped to win the 2017 Ballon d'Or after hitting 42 goals in 46 games to fire Madrid to triumphs in La Liga, the UEFA Champions League, the UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup in the past year.

Critics have often accused him of being more concerned by his individual scoring stats than Barcelona rival Lionel Messi, who registered 19 assists in the past season, seven more than Ronaldo.

Benzema, however, says the 32-year-old is just as likely to turn provider when the need arises.

"I have no words. When I hear his name, I just have a gesture of admiration," he said of Ronaldo, as quoted by AS.

"He's an extraordinary person. We understand each other well on the pitch. He wants to have the ball but it's very difficult to get it when he runs with it. 

"He's not selfish on the pitch but if he has the ball he always wants to go for goal. And suddenly, he'll set me up to score."

Benzema also hailed the impact of manager Zinedine Zidane, who has won five trophies – including back-to-back European titles – since taking charge in January 2016.

"He's a very complete, professional coach," he said. "Everyone admires him for his decisions in key moments. Zidane is more excited than a lot of the players in training. We understand each other well."

Madrid became the first team to defend the Champions League since the tournament was remodelled in 1992, after defeating Juventus 4-1 in the final in Cardiff last Sunday.

Ronaldo's opener was cancelled out by a brilliant Mario Mandzukic volley, before Casemiro, Ronaldo again and Marco Asensio led Madrid to victory.

"In an unexpected moment, Mandzukic scored a goal. It surprised us," recalled Benzema, who has been visiting Turkey during the close-season.

"Juve are a tough team but if we win it's because we're a team that nobody can stop. The celebration of the Champions League trophy was amazing."

Source Omnisport