Benzema has risen to the occasion, exceeding expectations and playing some of the best football of his life, writes SHAKES RAMPEDI.
Real Madrid’s spending spree in the transfer window of 2009 brought in some big names: Xabi Alonso, Kaka, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema. Among those names, perhaps least expected to have the impact that he has had at Los Blancos was the French international forward, Benzema.
Between 2009 and 2018, it could be argued that Benzema sacrificed his game to bring out the best in the players around him. Ronaldo was seen as the main man, scooping awards and Ballons D’or, while the Frenchman’s efforts went largely uncredited.
When Ronaldo left Real Madrid for Juventus, many questioned who would continue to score goals and carry the club but the four years after Ronaldo’s departure Benzema has risen to the occasion, exceeding expectations and playing some of the best football of his life.
Since Ronaldo left the Bernabeu, the 34-year-old has had over 160 goal contributions, which is more than what Ronaldo managed during his time in Spain. Incredible.
Karim Benzema’s outstanding form also forced the hand of France head coach Didier Deschamps, who recalled him to the French national team. In the short period of international play since his return, he won some silverware (in the Uefa Nations League) and helped them qualify for the World Cup later this year.
With Real Madrid sitting top of the table in La Liga, still competing in the Uefa Champions League and bagging the Super Cup, Benzema looks set for another stellar season.
The striker has embodied the saying that great things come to those who wait. He can make others around him perform better while still always improving his own game in a way that has seen him age like fine wine. And just like fine wine, he won’t be finishing any time soon, so savour and enjoy the show.
We can all learn a thing or two from this man’s journey.