How Karim Benzema defied critics to become an all-time Real Madrid great
- Karim Benzema has persevered and stood the test of time at Real Madrid to rise to the level of a legend for Los Blancos.
Wind the clock back to the summer of 2009 and Real Madrid were in the business of spending big money.
Cristiano Ronaldo, World Player of the Year in 2008 was signed from Manchester United for a world record fee of £80 million. They also decided to sign the player who had swept the board of individual honours in 2007 as Kaka was brought from AC Milan for over £50 million.
Also joining that summer, but enjoying nowhere near the same fanfare, was a French striker called Karim Benzema, who had shone for French side Lyon, scoring 66 goals in 148 appearances, winning seven major trophies, including four league titles in a row.
He was widely considered to be one of the best young strikers in world football but his transfer was overshadowed by those two illustrious names.
Fast forward to the present day and Benzema is the last man standing of the illustrious trio. Ronaldo enjoyed a stunning career before moving to Juventus in 2018. Kaka struggled to replicate the form of his early career lasting only four seasons, winning a solitary league title and Spanish Cup.
Despite attracting criticism at various points throughout his career Benzema has continued to thrive and been a key part of a team that won four Champion's League crowns in the last decade.
So where does he stand in the history of the world's most successful team. In this article we take a look.
Goals - 240
At time of writing Benzema has a whopping 240 goals to his name in 500 games. It might not quite be to the standards of Cristiano Ronaldo but it is seriously impressive nonetheless. He is currently sixth on the all time list, just two behind Ferenc Puskas and with a contract running until the summer of 2022 there will be plenty of opportunity to to add to that tally with 300 goals certainly in his sights.
He averages 0.48 goals a game which is better than club great Raul who is currently second on the all time list with 323. His least prolific season was just after joining in 2009-10 when he scored just 9 goals in 33 games and his best return was 32 goals in 2011-12.
What has perhaps been most impressive is the way he has stepped up following the transfer of Ronaldo to Juventus.
In Ronaldo's final two seasons, Benzema only scored 31 goals in 95 games. Since the Portugese superstar left, Benzema has been significantly more prolific, notching 48 goals in 87 appearances.
161 of his goals have come in the league while he has registered 52 in European competition.