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Sep 27, 2013

Benzema urged to be more like Ronaldo

Juninho Pernambucano has told his former Lyon team-mate Karim Benzema that he needs to follow Cristiano Ronaldo's example if he wants to fully exploit his talent.

Karim Benzema misses a headed chance against Getafe.
Karim Benzema has had a mixed start to the season.

Train: Real escape Elche

Benzema, 25, has had a reasonable start to the Liga season with Real Madrid, scoring twice and providing as many assists in the first six league games, while also registering a brace in his club's 6-1 thumping of Galatasaray on their maiden Champions League outing this term.

However, the striker has not scored for his country for more than 15 months and found himself dropped to the bench for France's last World Cup qualifier in Belarus, while he was jeered by Madrid supporters following a series of misses in last weekend’s 4-1 win over Getafe.

Juninho, 38, who played alongside Benzema for five seasons at Stade de Gerland before they both left the club in 2009, told RMC the Frenchman should replicate the attitude of his more illustrious team-mate in the Santiago Bernabeu dressing room to improve his performances.

"I get the feeling that for Karim, football is no longer the priority in his life,” he said. “It's not a problem of technical quality. He has to put in the effort. To play at the highest level, talent isn't the only thing you need.

"He has an example close to him: Cristiano Ronaldo. People say he's the best in the world. Physically, he's very, very strong. He makes a lot of effort. Those who know him know he's the last to leave training. 

“Karim has to accept that football is his job, that he has to make the effort to move more on the pitch -- not only rely on his talent -- work more without the ball, and play for 90 minutes at the physical level he's capable of. If he does that, he'll continue to improve and the goals will come naturally."

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