• Ronaldo and Benzema joined Real Madrid in 2009
  • Benzema netted 44 goals last season for Los Blancos
  • Real Madrid won the La Liga and UCL titles in 2021-22

Karim Benzema has said he has become more ambitious since Cristiano Ronaldo's departure from Real Madrid, before adding the Portuguese legend "helped me a lot on and off the pitch."

Benzema and Ronaldo both joined Real Madrid in 2009 and were teammates for nine long years, where they helped Los Blancos win many trophies, including four Champions League trophies and two La Liga titles.

After achieving extraordinary heights at Real Madrid, Ronaldo left the club and joined Juventus in 2018. He spent four seasons in Turin before moving to Manchester United in the summer of 2021. The five-time Ballon d'Or winner is into his second season at Old Trafford.

Since Ronaldo's exit from Santiago Bernabeu, Benzema has established himself as the club's primary goal scorer and the French forward has admitted he had to make several adjustments after the former's departure.

"It's true that I've scored more goals since he left, but when he was here I was assisting and he helped me a lot on and off the pitch. But, I knew I could do more. When he left, it was time to change my play and ambition and so far it's going well," Benzema told reporters ahead of Real Madrid's UEFA Super Cup clash.

Karim Benzema (R) has scored 15 goals in the Champions League this season and is the favourite for the Ballon d'Or
Karim Benzema (R) scored 15 goals in the Champions League last season and is the favourite for the Ballon d'Or AFP / JAVIER SORIANO

Benzema netted an incredible 44 goals and provided 15 assists in 46 appearances for Real Madrid in all competitions last season. The 34-year-old forward played a crucial role in Real Madrid's Champions League victory in the 2021-22 campaign as he had scored in 10 out of their 12 games.

"I'm not going to say if I'm the best or not. 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've always said that the collective trophies are more important than the individual ones," added Benzema.

Benzema has one year left on his current contract with the La Liga champions as Real Madrid gear up to begin their 2022-23 season against Almeira on Sunday. Before that, they are scheduled to take on Eintracht Frankfurt in the Super Cup fixture at Helsinki Olympic Stadium on Wednesday.