Having been named French player of the year by France Football, Karim Benzema discussed his style of play with the publication, explaining: “I remain the same player.”
Do you think you’re appreciated fully now?
“Let’s say I’m appreciated by a lot more people. But, apart from a statistical point of view, scoring more goals, I don’t see what I’ve changed in my game. Movement, giving assists, playing in attack, taking one touch – I’ve known how to do these things for a long time and I’ve always done them. I remain the same player.”
“We don’t consume football like we used to. We don’t stay in front of a game for ninety minutes anymore. With social media you can follow everything on your phone, you see the goals… We no longer bother to look at what a player is doing on the pitch, only who has scored. The next day, we consider the latter to be the most important. It’s happened to me before. I don’t play well, I score and I’m seen as the best. I don’t really like it, but, in the future, it’ll become more and more like that. It has become a sport where we look at statistics, you have to adapt to it and I’ve adapted very well.”
Do you consider yourself a different, unique player?
“Yes. We can say it like that, clearly. I don’t play like a number nine who stays in the box, but I know how to do it. I don’t play like a number nine who just drops deep, but I know how to do it. I know how to do everything. It’s the result of a lot of work. So unique, yes. I grew up watching Ronaldo, the Brazilian striker, and, in my eyes, he could do it all.”
Some see you as a mix between Ronaldo and Zidane…
“I took a lot of things from these two players, almost everything. From Zizou, for example, his control – he knew when to make the right pass and the right dribble. Ronaldo, I rather remember the risk-taking, the dribbling, the goals.”
Since the start of your career, which players have you had the most fun playing with?
“Cristiano, Mesut Özil, Juninho, Fred [in Lyon] and Zizou in training too. Technical players. That’s football, you make the call, the ball comes, you give it to him, he gives it to you…”