The departure of Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid leaves Karim Benzema very exposed and without a place to hide, leaving his future position at the club very much up in the air.
Madrid will need a player that can come close to the 50 goals per season scored by Ronaldo, and Florentino Perez may well be looking at strikers in the calibre of Edinson Cavani, Harry Kane or Robert Lowandenski to fill the Portuguese’s boots. If he doesn’t bring in someone from outside, then it would be Benzema who would be obliged to reach those scoring numbers.
Last season Benzema scored just 12 goals in 47 games, his second lowest goal tally since he came to Madrid (the worst being in the 2009-10 campaign, when he scored 9 goals in 33 games). His highest goal count came in the 2015-16 season, with the Frenchman netting 28 goals in 36 games.
Benzema and Ronaldo joined the same summer
Benzema was a personal target of Florentino Perez. So determined was the president to sign him, that Perez himself travelled to the Bron Terraillon neighborhood on the outskirts of Paris to persuade the young striker and his father about a move to Madrid.
“A black car stopped outside the door of the family home and out of the car came Florentino,” neighbours who witnessed the scene told AS at the time.
Soon after, Benzema signed from Lyon for 30 million euros in the summer of 2009. Another player that arrived that summer was Cristiano Ronaldo, who has, until now, covered up Benzema’s flaws. But from now on, the Frenchman will not have Ronaldo under whom to hide.
Last year, Benzema signed a two-year contract extension, which will keep him at the club until 2021, with an annual salary of 9 million euros. Up to now he hasn’t thought of leaving the Bernabeu, nor have there been offers to entice him.
In his nine seasons at the club, he has scored 192 goals in 412 games, averaging 0.46 goals per game. If no striker is brought in, the Frenchman will have to significantly increase that figure next season, or else risks his future at the club being compromised.