'It's always important to have influence' - Vinicius talks up Benzema partnership

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Real Madrid's Vinicius Junior has underlined his partnership with Karim Benzema as an important part of his team's success last season.

The two were vital to Los Blancos as they won LaLiga and became European champions once again, with Vinicius scoring the winner to beat Liverpool to earn the club's 14th Champions League.

Benzema scored 44 goals in the 2021-22 campaign, second only to Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski (50), who has now joined Real Madrid's fierce rivals Barcelona.

Vinicius was keen to emphasise the importance of his relationship with the France international, telling UEFA Media: "It's always important to have influence in games and Karim always tells me to be brave.

"You have to shoot to score or pass to assist. If not, keep the ball.

"Our connection has been very good and we have been able to win many games together."

Karim Benzema's record in all competitions
Karim Benzema's record in all competitions

In LaLiga last season Benzema and Vinicius combined for 66 goal involvements, with the latter contributing to 21 more goals than he had in the previous campaign.

Benzema's goal involvements in the league won his team 29 points, more than any other player in Europe's top five leagues while he scored 0.98 goals per game, better than any other season in his career.

Since he made his top-flight debut, Benzema's goal tally has been bettered by only five other players, with some calling for him to win his first ever Ballon d'Or after only Kylian Mbappe (60) had more goal involvements than him (59) in Europe's top five leagues last season.

Benzema and Vinicius were part of some remarkable Champions League comebacks in their run to lifting the trophy, namely against Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City.

And the 22-year-old believes the determination and never-say-die attitude is inherent to Real Madrid.

"It's the DNA of this club and of this shirt and it always shows up in big games," he added.

"Some games become an emotional roller coaster. We have players who know how to approach Champions League games."

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