Benzema reveals what he said to ex-Real Madrid team-mate Ronaldo after Euro 2020 draw

By Sports Desk June 24, 2021

Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo provided some of the most enduring images of Euro 2020 when France faced off with Portugal on Wednesday.

Social media was abuzz over the "bromance" between the former Real Madrid team-mates, the pair sharing a cheeky smirk with one another prior to kick-off and then embracing both at half-time and after the final whistle.

The duo both moved to the Santiago Bernabeu at the same time in their careers ahead of the 2009-10 season and enjoyed nine prolific campaigns together before Ronaldo – Madrid's all-time record goalscorer – moved on to Juventus.

Clearly, the respect the two have for one another still runs deep, with Benzema revealing what they discussed after a thrilling 2-2 draw in Budapest, a result which means both teams progress to the last 16.

"It's nice to see him again, we have come a long way together," Benzema told reporters following a game in which he and Ronaldo both scored twice.

"We both played eight or nine years at Real Madrid, we scored goals, won trophies.

"We spoke, we wished each other good luck for the future with our clubs and in the tournament and especially to continue to have fun on the field and continue to make the difference."

Ronaldo has scored five times in the tournament to draw level with Ali Daei's record of 109 international goals. Portugal next face Belgium, while world champions France are up against Switzerland.

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    The Manchester United forward received the FIFA Best Special Award at a ceremony in Zurich on Monday in recognition of breaking the world record for international goals in September last year previously held by Iran's Ali Daei (109), with Ronaldo now on 115 goals for Portugal.

    When asked by event co-host Jermaine Jenas about his "obsession" with the game and where it could take him, Ronaldo said he still has the same love for football as he did when he was younger, and gave an idea as to how long he intends to keep playing.

    "I still have the passion for the game. Not just to score goals," Ronaldo said. "It's to entertain myself, because I have played football since I was five, six years old.

    "When I go to the pitch, even in training, I still enjoy [it] and my motivation is still there. Even [though] I'm going to be 37 soon, I feel good, I feel motivated.

    "I keep working hard, since 18 years old, and I continue. I love the game, I still have that passion and I want to continue.

    "People ask me sometimes how many years more I am going to play, and I say I hope to play four or five years more.

    "It's all about mentally, because I think physically if you treat your body good, when you need your body, it will give it back to you, so this is what I do."

    Ronaldo has scored 14 goals in 22 games for United in all competitions since making a dramatic return to Old Trafford at the start of the current season, but recently indicated frustration at the recent form of the team.

    The Red Devils currently sit seventh in the Premier League table, five points off fourth-placed West Ham and 24 points behind top of the table Manchester City, though with two games in hand over both.

    Talking to Sky Sports last week, the former Real Madrid and Juventus marksman said: "I don't accept that our mentality be less than being in the top three in the Premier League.

    "I think to build up good things, sometimes you have to destroy a few things. So why not – new year, new life and I hope that we can be the level that the fans want. They deserve that.

    "We are capable of changing things now. I know the way but I'm not going to mention it here because I don't think it's ethical on my part to say that.

    "What I can say is we can do better – all of us. Manchester United belongs to important things, so we have to change that.

    "I don't want to be here to be in sixth place, or seventh place, or fifth place. I'm here to try to win, to compete.

    "I think we compete but we are not yet in our best level. But we have a long way to improve and I believe if we change our mind, we can achieve big things."

  • FIFA Best Awards: Chelsea dominate as Lewandowski scoops top men's prize FIFA Best Awards: Chelsea dominate as Lewandowski scoops top men's prize

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    While Robert Lewandowski and Alexia Putellas, who won the women's Ballon d'Or last year, took home the prizes for Best Men's and Women's player respectively, the Blues had winners in the form of Thomas Tuchel, Emma Hayes and Edouard Mendy.

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    Robert Lewandowski (Best Men's Player)
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    Christine Sinclair (FIFA Special Award)

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    Lewandowski scored 58 goals in 47 games in all competitions in 2021, which included breaking two long-standing records previously held by the legendary German striker Gerd Muller. He bagged 41 goals in a single Bundesliga season for Bayern, and 43 Bundesliga goals in a calendar year.

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    The 33-year-old was presented the award in Munich surrounded by Bayern's chief executive officer Oliver Kahn, sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic and head coach Julian Nagelsmann.

    "Thank you very much. I am very honoured to win this trophy," he said upon receiving the award. "I feel very proud, very happy. This trophy also belongs to my team-mates and my coaches."

    Lewandowski was also asked about breaking the records of Muller, who passed away in August last year at the age of 75.

    "I never dreamed I could break [Muller's] records, to score 41 goals in 29 games, if you asked me a few years ago if this was possible I would tell you 'no'.

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