Rio Ferdinand admitted that Karim Benzema the best striker in the world after Real Madrid’s 3-1 win at Chelsea on Wednesday.
Benzema’s hat-trick at Stamford Bridge was impressive on his own as an act, before he considered how the French striker had changed his chances and the fact that it was his second Champions League trophy in a row.
The 34-year-old became the only player in Champions League history to hit consecutive hat-tricks behind Cristiano Ronaldo (2017), Lionel Messi (2016) and Luiz Adriano (2014).
As well as his goal-scoring prowess, the fullness of Benzema’s game is what former Manchester United and England defender Ferdinand talks about in his praise, and how he has improved since the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo in 2018.
“He is 34 years old and the ninth in the world,” Ferdinand told BT Sport. “You are another level – goals, you help, you coordinate the game, you reduce the game.
“When Cristiano Ronaldo was in Benzema he was humble sitting in the back because he knew what it meant for the team, but now he’s out of the shadows.”
He has scored just 12 goals in all competitions for Ronaldo’s final season in Madrid, Benzema has scored more than 25 goals each season and, with this hat-trick, is 37 this season.
Although the three-goal draw has delighted the French overseas player, the team’s performance and win have provided a great deal of satisfaction.
“I will remember it for a long time because it was a magical night, like yesterday at the Bernabeu against Paris [Saint-Germain],” Benzema told Movieist.
“We entered the stadium today to win and we have shown who Real Madrid is, things went well because we played well from the first minute until the last minute.
“All three goals are very important and I am very happy with the third because I missed one in the first half and I was thinking about it. It is very important to score goals.”