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Karim Benzema single-handedly keeping Real Madrid's season alive

Karim Benzema has been in outstanding form for Real Madrid in 2020-21
Karim Benzema has been in outstanding form for Real Madrid in 2020-21
Aaron Gales
ANALYST
Modified 29 Mar 2021
Feature

When Cristiano Ronaldo left Real Madrid for Juventus in the summer of 2018, an enormous amount of responsibility fell on the shoulders of Karim Benzema. A perfect foil as Ronaldo scored a remarkable 450 goals in 438 games, the onus was now on Karim Benzema to fill the sizeable gap left by Ronaldo's departure.

Karim Benzema joined Real Madrid from Lyon in 2009, the same summer that Ronaldo made the move from Manchester United. Both players were a key part of the Real Madrid side that won four UEFA Champions League crowns in five years.

However, to accommodate the talents of Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, Benzema found himself playing an increasingly unselfish role, enabling his more illustrious team-mates to steal the limelight.

Karim Benzema often found himself playing second fiddle to Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale
Karim Benzema often found himself playing second fiddle to Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale

The supporting part was evident in Karim Benzema's decreasing goal tally season over season, with the lowest being just 12 goals in all competitions in 2017-18.

Karim Benzema comes to the fore for Real Madrid as Ronaldo departs and Bale stagnates

But with Ronaldo in Italy and Bale an increasingly peripheral figure, Karim Benzema has thrived on the added responsibility. In 2018-19 he scored 30 goals in all competitions, his best tally since 2011-12.

The following season, he found the back of the net 27 times as he claimed another La Liga title for his impressive trophy collection.

Karim Benzema is fifth on the all time list of Real Madrid scorers with 272 goals
Karim Benzema is fifth on the all time list of Real Madrid scorers with 272 goals
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However, at 33 years of age it could be argued that Karim Benzema is now in the form of his life. Karim Benzema has almost single-handedly kept their season alive in a season of struggle for Real Madrid.

Real Madrid are chasing the Spanish league title and yet another UEFA Champions League crown.

In 32 appearances for Real Madrid this season, Karim Benzema has scored 23 goals and claimed six assists, including eight goals in his last six appearances. Those goals have kept Real Madrid within touching distance of their great rivals Atletico Madrid at the top of La Liga this season.

Real Madrid are six points behind Atletico with 10 league fixtures remaining.

He has also been Real Madrid's key man in Europe. Benzema has scored five goals in six matches, helping them progress to the quarter-finals against Liverpool.

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The unselfish nature of Karim Benzema's game is now starting to bring him individual accolades. He is the fifth highest scorer in Real Madrid history and the second highest French goalscorer of all time, behind only the great Thierry Henry.

He has also won a remarkable 18 trophies during his time with Madrid, including those four UEFA Champions League crowns.

Given Real Madrid's struggles this season, it may well be a long shot. But with Karim Benzema in this kind of form, he could yet add more trophies to his collection by the end of the season.

Published 29 Mar 2021, 21:47 IST
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