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Five biggest losers from Cristiano Ronaldo's transfer to Juventus

UEFA Champions League'Real Madrid v Liverpool FC'
Ronaldo's move to Juventus has changed the dynamics of the football world
Elvis Ume O

#4 Karim Benzema

Real Madrid v Liverpool - UEFA Champions League Final
Real Madrid v Liverpool - UEFA Champions League Final

The 30-year-old Frenchman is one of Ronaldo's closest friends in the Madrid dressing room and it is easy to see why. Benzema has been selfless throughout his nine-year stay at the Bernabeu, unselfishly drifting out to the wing to let Ronaldo shine as the Portuguese increasingly adapted his game into being more of a centre-forward.

Karim Benzema arrived at Real Madrid from Lyon in 2009 as a 21-year-old and one of the most in-demand prospects in world football, owing to his impressive scoring feats in Ligue 1.

Over the next nine seasons, however, Benzema has not done too much in the goal scoring regard particularly in recent years to match his early reputation of the late noughties although understandably, it would have been difficult for anyone to outshine Ronaldo in goal scoring. Benzema humbly accepted this, playing the role of supplier for his more illustrious teammate to bang in the goals and take the spotlight.

Criticisms of Benzema have increased in recent seasons, with fans pointing out his profligacy in front of goal and low returns as proof of the need for his sale; but Benzema has always had an ally in Ronaldo and the full confidence of former coach and compatriot Zinedine Zidane.

With both gone, however, Benzema's status seems less guaranteed and his criticisms are heavily justifiable as his recent numbers in the opposition net are incredibly low.

Benzema scored just 5 league goals in 32 appearances in the just-concluded season and only 11 in 29 the season before.

With Ronaldo around and banging in the goals, it was easy to excuse Benzema's low returns as Ronaldo was already delivering the goods, and focus instead on other aspects of his game such as his passing accuracy and successful take-ons, but with his exit, Benzema will be thrust into the limelight as the man earmarked to lead Real Madrid's forward line.

However, owing to reports emanating from the Spanish capital, feelers indicate that the Frenchman is not trusted to get the job done as potential replacements are being lined up, with Valencia's Rodrigo identified as the chief candidate while Napoli have made enquiries about Benzema.

For nine seasons, Benzema was content to play second fiddle behind Ronaldo, but with the Portuguese gone, Benzema does not have such luxury again and it might be the right time to call it quits on his trophy-laden Real Madrid career.

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Edited by Arvind Sriram

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