How Karim Benzema created a history in Real Madrid

How Karim Benzema created a history in Real Madrid

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20 Feb 2022
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Karim Benzema has long established himself as one of the best strikers in Real Madrid and La Liga history. Benzema came to the Madrid club as a living legend of Lyon: being a pupil of the club, he won 7 trophies and scored in the Champions League of Bayern and Ferguson’s Manchester United. But in Spain things were not so rosy.

 

Everything started in 2009

Fast forward to 2010 and remember the Frenchman’s worst season at Real Madrid: then the striker fought with Jose Mourinho, almost didn’t score and lost the competition to Gonzalo Higuain. Karim’s first season at Real Madrid is a nightmare. He outright lost to Higuain and almost didn’t score

 

Benzema came to Real Madrid 

In June 2009, after a three-year pause, Florentino Perez returned to the presidency of Real Madrid. The comeback demanded an increase in authority, and Flo started an unprecedented transfer campaign. Perez spared no expense and spent lavishly on ready-made stars: Cristiano Ronaldo (94 million euros), Kaka (67), Xabi Alonso (34.5) and Raul Albiol (15) moved to Real Madrid that summer. Lyon’s Karim Benzema, 21, was Perez’s personal creation. The striker showed himself powerfully in France: he became the top scorer in Ligue 1, won the championship four times and scored against top clubs in the Champions League. Perez was so fired up with the transfer that he even personally flew to Lyon to Karim’s home. This attitude convinced the young striker to change clubs – that same summer, Real made a transfer for 35 million pounds.

 

Comparing against Gonzalo Higuain

Such expenses might seem excessive, because Gonzalo Higuain was already playing in the centre of the attack. The forwards are almost symmetrical in age, height, athleticism and only slightly differed in style: Gonzalo preferred the free kick, and Karim often played on the wing. As a result, in the first season, the Frenchman outright lost the competition to the Argentinean (born, by the way, in France): in La Liga, Higuain scored 27 goals, while Benzema scored only eight. And even these goals had a minimal impact on the result, because Karim only scored against outsiders or in undecided endings. Double “Tenerife” (who flew to the Segunda at the end of the season), a goal for “Jerez” (the match ended with a score of 5: 0), a ball for “Zaragoza” (6: 0, Karim scored last). The Frenchman scored against Atlético, but it was the fourth goal in a 5-1 rout. Benzema was able to open the scoring in the match only once – against Tenerife.

 

Unsuccessful season for Karim

Then it seemed that the unsuccessful season was due to adaptation in the new championship, and then the forward would accelerate. But things only got worse the next season. Mourinho came to Real Madrid and mentally destroyed Karim (he even compared him to a cat). The summer of 2010 proved to be very important for Benzema.

First, Jose Mourinho came to the club. The Portuguese had just won the Champions League with Inter and had unlimited authority. In the same summer, Raul left Real Madrid – the legend of the “creamy” went to finish playing at Schalke. “Real” was left with two centre-forwards – Benzema and Higuain. Sounds good on paper, but Jose thought the team needed three forwards. 

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