Manchester City striker Erling Haaland has highlighted Karim Benzema as a shining example of the importance of always looking for ways to develop and improve.
Benzema has been one of Europe’s top strikers since his teenage years, but the Frenchman has taken his game to new levels since turning 30 and enjoyed the best season of his career in 2021/22.
Haaland is only 22 and has scored 137 goals in 141 appearances for club and country since the start of the 2019/20 season – including three already since joining City in the summer.
But the Norwegian has an eye on the long-term picture and refuses to rest on his laurels.
“I don’t know what will happen, but it must always be about learning, about developing,” Haaland told FourFourTwo. “You can never stop looking for new ways to become better.
“Look at Karim Benzema at Real Madrid. He’s 34 now, and suddenly he’s developed into an even better player over the last couple of years – that’s insanely good. I want to always do that.”
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Benzema had only scored 12 goals across all competitions during the 2017/18 season with Real, his lowest tally since his debut year in Madrid. But he saw an opportunity once Cristiano Ronaldo left the club in the summer of 2018 and rose to the challenge, with his form in the years since ensuring that Los Blancos haven’t gone big in the transfer market for a new striker.
From 2018 to 2022, aged 30 to 34, Benzema scored 131 club goals in four seasons, comparable to his tally from the previous seven during his twenties.