The Rise of Karim Benzema: A Late Bloomer on the Soccer Field

Karim Benzema is a top performer in the world of football and many people believe that he could win the Golden Ball award this year.

European Football - Karim Benzema: Late sweet fruit on the green tree of life

Last season, Karim Benzema proved himself to be an exceptional player with his remarkable performance. The French striker scored a total of 44 goals in 46 matches, making him stand out as one of the best players in Europe. Benzema’s contribution to Real Madrid’s success was evident in Europe, where he scored 15 out of the team’s 29 goals. His 10 goals in the knockout round helped Real Madrid clinch victories against PSG, Chelsea and Man City.

Benzema played a crucial role in helping the Spanish royal team win an impressive “quadruple” in 2022, which included the Spanish Super Cup, La Liga, Champions League and European Super Cup. With his impressive performance, both individually and as a team player, Benzema has earned the trust and admiration of his teammates. He truly deserves to win the World Golden Ball race this year.

European Football - Karim Benzema: Late sweet fruit on the green tree of life (Figure 2).

Real Madrid made headlines in 2009 when they splurged over 200 million euros on player transfers. The deal that changed the landscape of football was the acquisition of Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United – a move that established him as a sports icon. Another significant signing was Kaka from AC Milan, hailed as one of the best players of his generation. Additionally, Real Madrid secured the services of Karim Benzema, a 21-year-old promising striker from Lyon, for 35 million euros. Manchester United was also keen on the young talent, but Sir Alex Ferguson declined when he learned of Real Madrid’s offer. Florentino Perez, president of Real Madrid, travelled to Bron on the outskirts of Lyon, to convince Benzema that joining Real Madrid was the best decision for his career.

European Football - Karim Benzema: Late sweet fruit on the green tree of life (Figure 3).

After signing with Real Madrid, Benzema was initially seen as a supporting act to the headliner. Despite his ability to create opportunities, he was unlikely to win the Golden Ball award. However, Benzema has stood out under various managers and emerged as a hero in last season’s successful Champions League campaign. With two La Liga wins in four years, he has surpassed Ronaldo’s record. Benzema’s career trajectory has been necessary for Real Madrid, and at 33, he is now considered one of the best strikers in the world.

European Football - Karim Benzema: Late sweet fruit on the green tree of life (Figure 4).

Benzema has shown a remarkable attitude throughout his career, working without complaint as Ronaldo’s shadow under coaches like Manuel Pellegrini, Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti, Rafael Benitez, and Zinedine Zidane. Despite being less famous than Ronaldo when he first joined the Bernabeu, Benzema accepted his role as a sacrifice and remained satisfied with it. After nearly four years of carrying Real Madrid on his own, he is having the best season of his career and is considered a top contender for the Golden Ball. His perseverance and dedication have finally paid off, and he has emerged as a shining star in his own right.

European Football - Karim Benzema: Late sweet fruit on the green tree of life (Figure 5).

Last season, Benzema achieved the best scoring performance of his career at the age of 34. He scored 27 goals and made 44 goal involvements in all competitions, while also recording 12 assists in the league. Interestingly, four of his top five goal involvements were achieved without Ronaldo. Additionally, he took 104 shots inside the box, which is his highest record to date. Benzema’s transformation from a No. 10 to a pure No. 9 has been remarkable and he has become the leader of a squad full of superstars. Over time, he surpassed legendary figures like Raul, Alfredo Di Stefano, Ferenc Puskas and Paco Gento on Real Madrid’s all-time goalscoring list. As a result, he has rightfully earned a place among the club’s all-time greats.

European Football - Karim Benzema: Late sweet fruit on the green tree of life (Figure 6).

Over the years, Benzema’s playing style has undergone changes that are influenced by time and his position on the team. Once a player who would often dribble the ball more, “Ben U” now has the privilege to wait in the penalty area and take shots immediately. However, this is not always easy, especially with the failure of Eden Hazard to live up to expectations as Ronaldo’s heir. Benzema, who is now in his mid-30s, is uncertain whether Vinicius or Rodrygo will arrive in time to create a unique bond with the French striker. Nevertheless, both players are already on their way to becoming world-class. Vinicius, in particular, has made a significant impact as a flanker with his thrilling samba style of play. The Brazilian striker’s ability to spread the field both vertically and horizontally allows Benzema to conserve his energy while becoming even deadlier with his touch.

European Football - Karim Benzema: Late sweet fruit on the green tree of life (Figure 7).

Last season, Vinicius proved his worth after a disappointing performance three years ago where he only scored eight goals and had four assists in La Liga. This led to doubts and frustration among fans. However, he bounced back with 17 goals and 10 assists in the previous season. He even scored the winning goal in the Champions League final for Real Madrid. Meanwhile, Rodrygo is slowly gaining more playing time with three goals and two assists so far this season. Real Madrid’s President, Florentino Perez, is focused on building a new foundation with promising young players, which has led to older players leaving the club. Despite this, Benzema and Modric, who are considered past their prime, are still valued for their skills and experience. Benzema, in particular, hopes to earn the Golden Ball title to cement his status at the club. As long as he remains, Real Madrid can depend on him.

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