Happy with Ronaldo’s departure and breaking Fontaine’s record. Benzema turned into a legend
Now a well-known genre will become popular: how can Karim be praised by everyone who used to scold him? Very simple. In soccer, the same goalkeeper Mendy can make insane saves and offensive mistakes. They’re all human. Benzema’s blunders are remembered, the nature of those mistakes were dealt with by experts long ago. The reluctance to see the bad is peculiar only to people who have fallen under someone else’s influence and are in something like a cult.
Everyone else decides what is bad and what is good. Benzema was a cool, short-haired young soccer player from Lyon, you can’t take that away from him. “Weavers know their forwards. Because he grew up in a poor neighborhood, he was associated with the criminal elements since childhood, small gangsters are his friends. Karim has a great attraction to everything shiny and expensive, like hip-hop artists. Has done some stupid things in relationships. He has a stain on his reputation in the form of an affair with an underage prostitute.
It’s too late to make a saint out of him. But all these facts, as well as Valbuena’s involvement in blackmail, are necessary to understand why the “enfant terrible” did not immediately jump from the phase of a talented prince to the throne of the king of attack at Real Madrid. Benzema has been too cocky since his youth. Every Lyon first-team rookie “pushes the speech.” The young player addressed the veterans with the words: “I have come to take your place. Then he was seventeen years old, and already in 2007, Benzema scored 31 goals in 52 games for the weavers.
A year later, Sir Alex Ferguson had a conversation with Karim in the dressing room, persuading him to move to Manchester United (the Scotsman clearly drew parallels with the purchase of another iconic Frenchman, Cantona). Lyon officials had to drag Benzema away from the coach by force, as Ola had hoped to make a deal with Perez. But few assumed that Real Madrid got not just another forward, but the club’s guard.
Benzema was pressured by Robin’s status under Batman
You probably know what Batman’s name is – Bruce Wayne. But what’s Robin’s name? Search engines suggest that the character is called Richard Grayson, the first time I’ve heard that name. Robin will never step out of the shadow of the main superhero. That’s how it was for Benzema when he came to Madrid together with Ronaldo and Kaka in the same off-season. Perez hoped to get a full-fledged attack, but the Brazilian Aristotle broke quickly – Kaka did not play in Ronaldo’s shadow.
Karim, on the other hand, stepped on the throat of the selfishness on the pitch and helped Cristiano shine for many years. Those 35 million euros, as well as the salary, the Frenchman has worked many times over. “Real Madrid lost quite a few big matches, but then began to win. Benzema has often been one of the guides to the world of big trophies. It’s not even that Kareem was the one who took advantage of Karius’ concussion in the final against Liverpool. And it’s not about being a tactical bargaining chip in the Champions League finals before that.
The point is that Benzema didn’t give up in difficult circumstances. He was seen as the new Nicolas Anelka – a talented Frenchman who thinks he’s a big star but scores less than coaches would have liked. Mourinho humiliated Karim publicly when, after Ronaldo’s injury, he said that since he no longer had a dog, he had to take a cat on the hunt. But remember where we started. Benzema was far from always a professional, his audacity was not combined with diligence and marksmanship.
Simply put, in stretches Karim looked awful. Karim’s goal-per-shot ratio is now 0.44, not including penalties, he’s scored 0.76 goals on average over the past year, and created a lot of chances. But there have been seasons when the goal-to-goal ratio dropped by half, even though every hundredth shot counts. There is a silver lining, though. Over time, the forward settled into the role of Robin, as 47 of Ronaldo’s 451 goals at Real Madrid were created thanks to Benzema’s assists.
Gained from Ronaldo’s departure, but now needs trophies
Deschamps brought Benzema back to the French national team, although the forward’s cool play at Euro 2020 did not help him reach the final. “Real Madrid crashed out on their way to the final a year ago. In the El Clasico, Barcelona showed what Real Madrid looked like without Benzema, winning away 0-4. But understanding Karim’s value or his hat-tricks against PSG and Chelsea does not equal trophies. We know stories of fabulous individual seasons that didn’t have a clear point in the form of a big trophy.
Benzema will clearly be preparing for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to recoup all the humiliation and rejection from the French. But the inconsistency of this part of his career does not prevent him from unequivocally stating that the Real Madrid captain is now the leader of a big, solid team. The hat-trick against Mendy is an event, as is a new record for the French in European competitions in the same season. Karim has surpassed the achievement of the great Juste Fontaine.
But it was a small episode that made him stand out. In one of Real Madrid’s counterattacks in rainy London, Benzema gave a heel pass at high speed. He did so with such skill and naturalness that only the Madrid spirit of misses, which moved from Karim to Vinicius, prevented him from aiming the ball at Chelsea. The Brazilian hesitated, while the Frenchman later hit a header without a miss and set up another act of pressuring the goalkeeper followed by a mistake. From Karius and Ulreich to Donnarumma and Mendy, who hasn’t suffered from Benzema’s instincts.
And defenders are surprised by his performance. Ronaldo is a shot eater, so next to him Benzema had fewer chances. Not to mention the ability to take a penalty like now. Karim’s increased efficiency – he now has 37 goals in a season, his personal record at Real Madrid – is not surprising at all. But the way Benzema acts without the ball and how much he influences the structure of Real Madrid’s game is again striking. If before he was one of the radiant orchestra, now he is the conductor.
Karim has been a world-class forward since his youth, but is now becoming great. Will manage to break a couple of records. Playing for Real Madrid for thirteen years, he boldly claims to be included in the pantheon of club legends. Benzema has had a pretty difficult transformation from a talented hooligan to a mature professional, and congratulations are in order. A calculating, technical and intelligent striker who, unlike some, also sees his teammates.
Benzema has a sense of soccer, and it is always a pleasure to watch such players. Yesterday, Neuer played too much and Moreno failed to get into Bayern’s goal from his own half. Karim, on the other hand, waited for someone else’s mistake and scored his third goal in London. Though the away goals do not give more advantage as before, but Real Madrid have a clear head start on the eve of a difficult return leg.