Benzema is coming off the most prolific season in his career, scoring 44 times in 46 games for Real Madrid to help his side win a Champions League and La Liga double - and he looks set to continue that form.

The 34-year-old, who captained Real in the Super Cup final, said this week former team-mate Ronaldo "helped me on and off the pitch", but admitted he was able to adapt his game and score more goals once the Portugal star left.

After his goal on Wednesday, Benzema is second only to Ronaldo as Real's all-time leading scorer and staring at individual accolades as well as team prizes, becoming the frontrunner to win the Ballon d'Or in October.

"He is an amazing centre-forward," former England midfielder Owen Hargreaves told BT Sport. "The great players rise to these occasions. When they have needed Benzema, he has produced.

"If he doesn't win the Ballon d'Or this season, he never will. I can't see how he doesn't win it. He is irreplaceable. He will age well because he has always been a smart player.

"He doesn't look like he is slowing down - there isn't another one out there like him."

Former Real Madrid winger Steve McManaman added: "Incredible, exalted company. Huge iconic names in the history of Real Madrid - only got Cristiano above him and that says a lot.

"[He's had} 610 appearances to get to where he has got and he deserves all the plaudits."