Brazil and Real Madrid legend Ronaldo claims Karim Benzema is ‘without a doubt’ the BEST striker in the world ahead of Robert Lewandowski – but admits BOTH will soon be surpassed by Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland
- Robert Lewandowski had been voted as FIFA’s ‘best’ player in January
- But Ronaldo believes Karim Benzema is by far the better player this year
- The 34-year-old has 24 goals in just 28 games for Real Madrid this season
- Ronaldo believes next generation led by Erling Haaland will soon surpass them
Brazilian World Cup winner Ronaldo has named Real Madrid star Karim Benzema as the world’s best striker.
The 34-year-old has been with the club since 2009 where over the course of his time in Spain he has struck a total of 303 goals from 587 matches.
But Benzema is flourishing in the autumn of his career at the Bernabeu, netting 24 goals in just 28 games this season.
Karim Benzema has been on fire for Real Madrid this season scoring 24 goals in 28 games
Brazil legend Ronaldo (pictured in 2002) has claimed Benzema is the best striker in the world
Bayern Munich hitman Robert Lewandowski was named by FIFA as ‘the best’ player in the world in their January award ceremony.
However, when quizzed on who is the greatest, former Madrid star Ronaldo believes the France international is by far the better goalscorer.
He went on to claim though that both will be surpassed by the likes of Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland and Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe in the near future.
‘Benzema, no doubts about it,’ Ronaldo told Bobo TV via Football Italia. ‘Lewandowski after him. Haaland will become the No 1, but the other two are better than him at the moment.
Despite Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski being voted by FIFA as the ‘the best’ player in the world last month, Ronaldo believes he is only a distant second behind Benzema
Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland (left) has been tipped to become the best by Ronaldo, while Kylian Mbappe has also been praised by the Brazil legend
‘Mbappe is also really strong. I’ve read he’s signed a €50m (£42m) a-year contract with Real Madrid. Surely, we played at the wrong time.’
Ronaldo, who was widely regarded as the world’s best player throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s, also praised the skill of Lionel Messi and Neymar before admitting that the modern player showed a greater application to succeed off the pitch compared to his generation.
‘Messi is extraordinary, a powerful and technical player’, Ronaldo added. ‘He wants to score in every game. Neymar is another top player. I hope he can win something with Brazil, but he’s been criticised back home because of his private life.
‘Nevertheless, this generation of footballers is better than us off the pitch. They eat well and sleep a lot. For us, it was the opposite, not to mention the number of women we had. Just think about having the same mentality….’
Ronaldo also praised the skill and application of modern players including Paris Saint-Germain duo Lionel Messi (left) and Neymar (right)
Ronaldo won the World Cup with Brazil in 1994 and 2002, and won the prestigious Ballon d’Or award in 1997 and 2002 to prove himself in the global game.
But the former Inter Milan and Barcelona hitman revealed that he was given plenty to learn in the early years of international football by striker partner Romario.
‘I learned a lot from Romario and Bebeto,’ the 45-year-old continued. ‘They were an inspiration for me even if Romario was a motherf***** because he forced young players to clean his boots or bring him coffees.
Ronaldo recalled a tale of a night out with former Brazil striker partner Romario (above)
‘A few years later, in 1997 I was an important player already. I had already won the Ballon d’Or and during the training retreat for the Copa America, Romario suddenly told me: “Get ready, we go out tonight, don’t worry.”
‘He had prepared a ladder to climb over the hotel’s wall and there was a taxi waiting for us on the other side.
‘We returned at 5am and I was exhausted the following day in training. I understood that Romario did it on purpose to tire me out and take my spot in the starting XI!’