Karim Benzema during the La Liga match between Real Madrid and Barcelona at Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, October 2022.

‘CR7 was in love with him’: 13 quotes to sum up Benzema’s brilliance

Karim Benzema might now be a Ballon d’Or winner but he’s arguably been one of the most underappreciated strikers of his generation.

The French superstar has been at Real Madrid for 13 years, scoring 328 goals in 615 appearances, and winning pretty much everything on offer.

One of the best when it comes to all-around play, and not just goalscoring, Benzema can consider himself a Real Madrid legend, and even at 34 years of age, continues to tear La Liga apart.

Those who played alongside or even against Benzema understand what a remarkable player he is, and here’s what some of the game’s greats had to say about him.

Ronaldo Nazario

“No doubt my candidate for the Ballon d’Or is. The best striker, brutal level for 10 years and a champion above all,” Ronaldo wrote on his Facebook account in October 2021.

Zinedine Zidane

“I know what a player Benzema is, everyone knows it,” Zidane said after Benzema hit a hattrick against Athletic Bilbao in 2018. “The number of goals he’s scoring is incredible. I’m made up for him.

“Everyone can have their opinion on who is the best No.9 in the world and for me it’s Karim.

“He is confident, he knows you can always improve too, which is great. It doesn’t surprise me what he’s doing.”

Thierry Henry

“When I speak about Benzema, only one word comes to mind, it’s class. He is class. When he plays, whatever he does, he does it with class,” Henry stated on French TV channel TF1.

Kylian Mbappe

“Playing with great players is what I dream of. Benzema is a great player. I’m very happy he’s back. There are not many players better than Benzema in the world. He will contribute a lot to us,” Mbappe posted on his Instagram in May 2021.

David Trezeguet

“Benzema is a mix between Raul and Butragueno, he gives much more to the game than just statistics,” Trezeguet told Goal in France.

Cristiano Ronaldo

“I’m happy for him, He is the best striker in the league and one of the world’s best,” Ronaldo told AS after a 5-0 win over Athletic Bilbao in 2014.

Mesut Ozil

Tweeting after Benzema scored in El Clasico in 2020, the former Madrid star stated: “The best striker of La Liga showed his class again – my boy Benzi.”

Carlo Ancelotti

“For what he’s doing and for what he’s done, he has to be in the list of possible winners,” Ancelotti told La Liga TV when asked if Benzema should win the 2021 Ballon d’Or.

“Saying that Karim’s got time to win it. I somehow doubt this is his final season – he’s like a fine wine; the older he gets the better he is.”

Jose Mourinho

“The best compliment you can give to Karim Benzema is that Cristiano Ronaldo was in love with him at Real Madrid,” Mourinho said in The Sun.

“And for Cristiano to be in love with another attacking player means he does a lot for Cristiano — and he does a lot for every attacking player that plays around him.”

“Karim is probably the only No 9 I know that is not selfish in his game. His vision is amazing, the way he enjoys his football is to play with lots of freedom. I can compare him with Harry Kane also in this sense.”

Jean-Pierre Papin

“Karim Benzema is the best of his generation by far, he’s very complete,” Papin told L’Equipe.

“I like his finishing, his way of participating in the actions of his team, in their creation. He is not only there to score goals, he is there to bring the offensive animation of his training to life.

“His longevity at Real Madrid is incredible. In such a club, where it is not easy to stay or settle down, he arrived, he imposed himself when he was in competition with very great players.”

Xabi Alonso

“He is my favourite,” the former midfielder told Real Madrid TV. “I love how he plays and how he links up with his team-mates. “He comes short, frees up the space that gives the game far more depth. When he plays well, the team plays well. He’s one of the best players of the last decade.”

Alvaro Arbeloa

The former right-back told Real Madrid TV: “I’m a big fan of Karim, as I have suffered from him in training and I know how difficult it is to mark him,” he said.

“He is a legendary player, not only in Madrid but in world football.”

Sidney Govou

“‘I think he has largely the level of Thierry,” Govou told  L’Equipe. “Thierry really impressed me because he was not only a fast player but he had the ball. But Karim is more complete.

“He also has a kind of presence because he is smaller and less athletic. Karim has always been a top player. If you love football, it’s impossible not to love him.”

READ MORE: 14 crazy stats that show why Karim Benzema deserves the Ballon d’Or