Karim Benzema, the odyssey of the “shy boy” who became Real Madrid legend

It’s a man’s story. Or rather, from a young Gone,”discreet, shy“, long confined to the role of lieutenant to one of the greatest players in history. Karim Benzema, who seemed to play a role of eternal second knife in Real Madrid, eventually proved to be so sharp that he became France’s top scorer in the history, the most successful French player and with the most starts in the Champions League, he is already a legend of Real Madrid, traveling to Chelsea in the first leg of the quarter-finals, the C1, Wednesday 6 April.

“KB9” has only worn three different jerseys in his professional career: that of his training club, Olympique Lyonnais, that of the French team, since his first cape at the age of 19, and that of Real Madrid, where he won almost everything. At 34 years old, the striker is an example of longevity, stability and loyalty.

Benzema arrived at the training center at the age of ten and learned all his skills at OL. But the young boy of the time did not immediately put himself to the fore, even though his potential was clear. Armand Garrido, former trainer of the Olympique Lyonnais U17s, remembers a child”calm, discreet, even shy“The click, it’s between his 15 and 17 years that he arrives.”His involvement in the field changed and he soon signed professionally.“The reason for this sudden outbreak?”He is a hardworking football fan“, Armand Garrido slips to franceinfo: sport. Work and passion, two words that will accentuate his career.

The striker joined the Lyon pro group in 2004 and played his first game in January 2005. Sidney Govou, who played for OL between 1999 and 2010, quickly understood that this young Gone was a striker of his time, that of the 2000s. the twilight of surface foxes. Benzema is different”,a player who doesn’t just score goals“, insists the former Rhone winger.

The statistics prove him right: in addition to his status as top scorer in the 2007-2008 season, Karim Benzema provides six assists, making him the second striker in this ranking. In the summer of 2009, after 148 appearances for OL, it was time to take off, far from the Rhone, and swap one white tunic for another.

The Rhodanien arrives at the same time as a certain Cristiano Ronaldo, Golden Ball and a new record transfer, in a Madrid rebuilding a galactic era. The start is irregular and the French compete with Gonzalo Higuain, doesn’t play all the time, to the point of not getting selected for the 2010 World Cup.”Benzema remains in crisis, not only in goals but also in football identity“, wrote the Spanish newspaper Ace in October 2009, the day after a loss to AC Milan (2-3). †He looks like he hasn’t arrived in Madrid yet“, In abundance Brand

In 2010, Jose Mourinho, then Real’s boss, publicly criticized the Frenchman’s lack of aggressiveness and combativeness, as Higuain’s injury forced him to settle. †If you don’t have a dog to hunt, but you do have a cat, you get the cat, right? Because you can’t do it alone. We have one striker, Benzema.

An exit that is not much liked by the attacker, who will explain it privately with his coach. Yet stingy with patience, Real’s leaders show leniency to the French. †NOTwe’ve had a striker for ten years“, assures the then general manager Jorge Valdano. The club will always support him, even during the turmoil that resulted from the sextape affair, in November 2015, which will earn him media custody and indictment “complicity in attempted blackmail and participation in a criminal association”

This unwavering support from Casa Blanca allows Benzema to stay focused on the pitch. He grew up intelligently, in the shadow of Cristiano Ronaldo. †He understood that he had to be a little less focused on the goal than Cristiano“, Sidney Govou explains to franceinfo: sport. For Alain Perrin then becomes the striker “a technical player, who likes to pass, who likes to play with his partners

“When he was young, we always used him as number 10.”

Armand Garrido, former OL coach

france info: sports

A development that is not so surprising, as his trainer Armand Garrido hears. †He has always been surrounded by very good attacking players, from the academy with players like Loïc Rémy or Hatem Ben Arfa, reminds his coach of U17† When he was young we used him as a number 10 [milieu offensif]which revolved around the attacker.Taking a step back and leaving the star to Cristiano Ronaldo was in his DNA and made him the loyal lieutenant of the Portuguese. Where CR7 scores from 41 to 61 goals per season, Benzema navigates between 17 and 28. But everyone agrees on one point: he is the man in the shadows, indispensable for the Portuguese.

But in 2018, Real registered the departure of Ronaldo. It’s time. Nearly a decade after his arrival, Karim Benzema takes charge of the Merengues’ attack, scoring more than 30 goals a season. Orphaned by his Lieutenant Ronaldo, he will never regain his gargantuan achievements once he moves to Juventus Turin. †He became the technical leader of the team, because since his return to the French team”, analyzes Alain Perrin.

“He developed this ability to be a leader and he got to an age where people listen to him and follow him.”

Sydney Govou

france info: sports

It’s part of his progression. greetings Sidney Govou† He developed this ability to be a leader. It wasn’t necessarily innateRealization of this new status: the captaincy restored after the departure of captain Sergio Ramos last summer. Undisputed leader, he now passes on to the new generation of Real.Vinicius [son coéquipier brésilien de 21 ans] I didn’t teach him football he trusted Bee The team, Tuesday, April 5. † Now he makes the right choices, he thinks. This is what I taught him

This season, “KB nueve” is on track to put in its best practice, scoring 32 goals and 13 assists in 34 games. His performance at the Parc des Princes, which disgusted the “galactic” PSG, allows him to still be in the race to win a fifth Champions League … and why not dream of a first Ballon d’ Or, who his system and who could very well dedicate a Frenchman as the first winner of his new version.

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