Real Madrid’s number nine Karim Benzema has emerged as their saviour after the departure of talismanic forward Cristiano Ronaldo in the previous season. However, things were a little bleak for the Frenchman in the 2017/2018 season, having netted just 12 goals in 47 appearances across all competitions for Los Blancos.
But after Ronaldo decided to move to Turin in 2018, the responsibility of scoring goals fell on the shoulders of Frenchman Karim Benzema, who responded with great determination on the pitch. Having been criticised by the fans and supporters of the club for his abysmal performances in front of the goal earlier, Benzema stood up to the task and was the only saving grace for the All Whites in the 2018/19 season.
Real failed to win any silverware in the 2018/19 season except for the FIFA Club World Cup but three different managers and 12 league defeats didn’t fare well for the royal club of Spain. Amidst all the chaos, Benzema emerged as a pivotal figure for Real.
He scored 21 goals in La Liga, which contributed to 28 points for his club last season, and if not for his consistent performances for the club, Los Blancos wouldn’t have even made it to the Round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League. His performance was not restricted to just the Spanish domestic league either, as he netted four goals and provided a valuable assist in his six appearances in the Copa Del Rey as well.
The Frenchman hit the 30-goal mark last season after the 2011/12 season. The vacuum left by Ronaldo was palpable, but Benzema lifted the spirits of the fans with his goal-scoring spree, restoring his reputation as a prominent goal-scorer at the Santiago Bernabeu.
He has always been respected and adored by his manager Zinedine Zidane and ex-teammate Ronaldo for his selflessness and ability to adapt to the needs of the team, making him a true team player. Although he is one of the most underrated forwards in the game, his skills and goal-scoring prowess have reached new heights in the ongoing season as well.
Benzema’s good run of form continued in the 2019/20 season, with the Frenchman leading the way for Real, having scored six goals in his seven outings for the All Whites. Despite the arrival of Luka Jovic at the Bernabeu, Benzema has always a found a place in the starting 11 under Zidane.
The manager’s faith has been consistently repaid so far, as the 31-year-old’s power, speed and guile have helped his team stay at the top of the league so far. Real’s president has taken notice of Benzema’s resurgence and increased his weekly wages to £190,000 per week recently.
The Frenchman has flourished when put in dire situations, and his 20-goal record in the La Liga so far in 2019 is bettered only by Lionel Messi’s 21. The post-Ronaldo era has been kind to Benzema but to the Frenchman’s credit, he’s a player who refuses to stand down, and fights for his place.
Feature image courtesy: AFP/ Cristina Quicler