Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema believes he was the man to make everything work in Los Blancos’ fabled ‘BBC’ trio.
Benzema was often overshadowed by Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, but has been a proven goalscorer in his own right during his productive 10-year career at the Bernabeu.
The Frenchman saw his value questioned at times, but Ronaldo and Bale always worked hard for the collective cause, and Benzema considers himself to have been the glue which held three ambitious figures together.
“You had the rocket, which was Bale, the goalscorer, which was Cristiano, and then you had me who would be between them, the one that made it all work,” Benzema told RMC Sport.
“At Lyon I was the finisher, and the finisher here was Ronaldo. I played another role with him.
“I scored goals, but I was more involved in the build-up, in movement, trying to open up spaces.
“For me, just because you’re the No.9 doesn’t mean you have to be a goalscorer.
“It’s a different style of play.
“In the years before, the No.9 was usually the goalscorer at Real Madrid, but here it was a winger who came inside, and I moved about to free up some space and allow him to score.
“For me he was the goalscorer, even if he was playing on the left.”
The Atletico legend scored 74 goals in 134 games for the club before moving to Inter Milan.
His former side experienced a positive start to their season, winning all three of their opening games to steer four and five points clear of Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively.
“Yes. Well, we have to see,” Forlan said, courtesy of La Liga when asked if Atletico can go all the way.
“I know that Real Madrid and Barcelona have great players but so do Atletico Madrid. They signed really good players, Joao Felix as I said, and Diego Costa is an experienced player, great talent.
“They’ve renewed the team with some great young players. They had a great pre-season and now we need to see how they do in the league. But they look really good. What they showed in the pre-season was interesting, great games against great teams.
“The derby against Real Madrid, I know it was a friendly but it was also a derby and nobody likes to lose by that kind of score [7-3].
“They’re going to be fighting [for the title], they always fight. The gap is getting a little closer now. And those players that made history for Real Madrid and Barcelona, they’re getting older as well. That could be an advantage for Atletico Madrid.
“Having a new team and renewing the team every season. Real Madrid and Barcelona are doing it a little slower than Atletico but they’re still in great shape. Great players with experience. We have to see, but I think Atletico Madrid are in a good position to fight for the title again.”
Reaction from Diego Simeone after his Atletico Madrid side came back from two goals down to defeat Eibar 3-2 in the Spanish La Liga at Wanda Metropolitano Stadium on Sunday.
Eibar were 2-0 up inside the opening 20 minutes through Charles and Arbilla, but Atletico fought back with goals from Joao Felix and substitutes Vitolo and Thomas Partey to preserve their perfect start to the new La Liga season.
Watch his press conference above: