Cristiano Ronaldo’s excellence had concealed the lack of goals from Benzema and co. for a while. For far too long, Benzema had hidden in CR7’s shadow. The excuse made for him was that he had changed his role to help the Portuguese superstar. These same apologists claimed that with Ronaldo’s exit, the 30-year-old would get back to his lethal best.
These claims have proven to be false. It is true that Ronaldo was the undoubted star at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu. His style meant that other players had to adjust to suit him. However, that cannot excuse Benzema’s failures, he has been surrounded by creative midfielders and fullbacks. Too many times, he has fluffed his lines in front of goal.
In 2013, Real Madrid took the decision to sacrifice Gonzalo Higuain and make Benzema the main striker. The decision has been justified in terms of trophies (13 trophies since then). However, in terms of effectiveness, it was a bad call.
Higuain has gone on to score 150 goals in 257 games since he left. This is a far better ratio than Benzema’s 110 in 237 matches. This is even without considering the disparities in the quality of support both have received.
Therefore, it boggles the mind why Real supremo Florentino Perez and manager Julen Lopetegui failed to strengthen the attack in the summer. The refusal of the hierarchy to pursue another striker didn’t make sense.