Karim Benzema’s sharp fangs in the group stage have become demonic in knock-out clashes

Karim Benzema’s sharp fangs in the group stage have become demonic in knock-out clashes

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03 May 2022
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Carlo Ancelotti’s No.9 has 14 goals in 10 games in this edition of the Champions League, which puts him just three short of his 17 in 2013-14.

Benzema is close to beat Ronaldo’s record

To say that many of Real Madrid’s chances of reaching the final in Paris depend on the goals of Karim Benzema is to state the obvious. Carlo Ancelotti’s No.9 has 14 goals in 10 games in this edition of the Champions League, which puts him just three short of his 17 in 2013-14. So great are the Frenchman’s figures that the 14 goals with which he arrives in the second leg of the semi-finals has only three higher total records: the 16 scored by Cristiano Ronaldo in 2015-16 and the 15 scored by Robert Lewandowski (2019-20) and the infallible Cristiano again in 2018-19. As Benzema comes into the match with Manchester City, it is foolhardy to bet that those records are not in jeopardy. His sharp fangs in the group stage have become demonic in knock-out clashes with nine goals since the comeback against PSG at the Bernabeu.

Karim equals Messi’s  streak with one goal

If Cristiano’s record of back-to-back goals is out of reach for now (17 in 11 games, from the 4-1 win over Juventus in the Cardiff final to the penalty against La Vecchia Signora that saved Madrid the following season), Benzema does have a shot at something the other Champions League goalscoring monster, Lionel Messi, has never managed. Leo’s best consecutive Champions League tally is ten goals. He scored them in 2016-17, between the match against Celtic in the group stage and the one that ended the run was against Borussia Monchengladbach. Along the way, he missed the game in Germany against the Monchengladbach through injury. Karim equals Messi’s streak with one goal, and with two, he would break it. What Benzema has done since the end of the group stage is only matched by Cristiano’s ten goals between the quarter-finals and the final of the 2016-17 season.

When Lewandowski’s name is put next to Benzema’s, the Pole does improve on Benzema.

We are talking about the Champions League format because in the old European Cup, when it was all about knock-out meetings, there are better records: Jose Altafini (14, in 1962-63), Ferenc Puskas (12, in 1959-50), Gerd Muller (11, in 1972-73). When Lewandowski’s name is put next to Benzema’s, the Pole does improve on Benzema. In the 2019-20 season, the pandemic season in which Bayern were European champions, he scored in every game he played except the final. That was 15 goals in a row, with a break in the match against Tottenham in which he was rested to end the group stage. It is obligatory to look at the two players set to lead all records soon when discussing goalscoring fire. Kylian Mbappe scored eight goals in a row in the Champions League last season in just four games.

Erling Haaland’s best record now stands at ten goals in a row despite only 19 Champions League appearances. In his debut season with Salzburg, he scored eight goals in his first five appearances. The following season, the 2020-21 season, he donned the Borussia Dortmund shirt and scored ten goals in a row in six games. In that scoring torrent, he missed out through injury against Lazio and Zenit in the final two rounds of the group stage, though Manchester City stopped the Norwegian in the quarter-finals and won both games 2-1.

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