“When I conclude my football career, I’ll see whether I’ve achieved club history,” the Real Madrid striker tells Uefa.com as he aims for a fifth Uefa Champions League winners medal against Liverpool in Paris – and a Cristiano Ronaldo record.
During most of his seasons at Real Madrid, Karim Benzema was overshadowed by striking partner Cristiano Ronaldo, but the Frenchman has taken over the limelight this season, scoring 15 goals to help his team reach the Uefa Champions League final.
Since joining Real Madrid from Lyon in 2009, the striker has won everything there is to win, but the Real Madrid captain tells Uefa.com that he has lost none of his drive for goals and that he may even be growing better as he grows older.
On the Uefa Champions League campaign this season
Those feelings will last a lifetime since our Champions League campaign was not easy. We were up against Paris Saint-Germain, who were the clear favorites. Chelsea, the reigning champions, were our opponents. Last year’s finalists, Manchester City, were our opponents. As a result, it demonstrates that we are an excellent team. [All of this] demonstrates that we never give up, that we have mental toughness, and that we are a strong team capable of turning any situation around with the aid of our fans.
Although there are youthful players [such as Rodrygo, Vincius Junior, or Éder Milito], they have already played 70 to 100 matches. Some have played 100 games, yet this is a group where the younger members listen to the older members. We provide counsel, and people express their opinions, which is how a group functions. Apart from age, there are no differences, and we all get along well.
On the possibility of beating Cristiano Ronaldo’s Uefa Champions League record of 17 goals in a single season
Records will always exist, and they will be broken at some point. What matters most to me is giving it my best on the field to help my team win; scoring or assisting goals is nice, but the most important thing is to go on the field and win the game.
This season, what has been my favorite goal? They’re all valuable and worthwhile. The third goal against PSG or the penalty against Manchester City are maybe the most stunning, but the header against Chelsea was also outstanding since it was wonderful play.
On the significance of experience
I believe there are an increasing number of athletes in this circumstance that improve as they approach 30. I take excellent care of myself and pay close attention to what I do; I get as much rest as I can, I work harder, I schedule my time effectively, and I believe that experience helps. That’s why I’m in such good shape today, both physically and emotionally.
I was infatuated with football and being on the field when I was 19, 20. Then you gradually realize that being on the field is not everything. There are a lot of other essential things that go along with it: eating properly, sleeping well, getting enough rest, working out in the gym, and a lot of other things that I used to overlook because, to me, football was just about what occurred on the field.
Real Madrid’s chances of winning the Uefa Champions League for the sixth time
When my football career is over, I’ll see whether I’ve created club history. In any way, each of my matches is crucial to me. I strive to do something different every time to keep the people interested. That said, it is, without a doubt, my ambition to win another Champions League. However, we must be really well prepared and perform as if we are in the final.