Old photo of Karim Benzema clapping for celebrity Real Madrid players sums up his journey to stardom

The coveted Golden Ball, known as the Ballon d’Or is awarded in October, we sit half a year away from that fateful evening. 

Yet, many with brimming belief can confidently convey that there can only be one winner. Such unanimous adherence has been an unseen feature, at least since the dominance of CR7 and LM10 concluded.  Even then, there were two sets of stans at each other’s throats, plunged in constant discourse. 

On this occasion, there will be faint shouts for Mo Salah, Kevin De Bruyne, and perhaps Sadio Mane as well. 

Nevertheless, this year belongs to one Karim Benzema, and if you turn back the hands of time, you’ll learn that the Frenchman has paid his dues. 

He arrived at Los Blancos in 2009, a fresh-faced wonderkid after having ripped up the Ligue 1 with Lyon. 

Instead of a dream start, however, the Frenchman found himself in a goal drought. His dry goal tally eventually led to him being benched by Manuel Pellegrini, and he played second fiddle to Gonzalo Higuain.

Teetering on the fringes of the Madrid team, with the Spanish Media constantly on his case, it looked like Karim’s dream was about to be short-lived.

Carrying the reputation of being disobedient, young Karim found himself in heaps of trouble and controversy, eventually being dropped from the French National team. 

When a steady string of starts finally arrived, the Frenchman was overshadowed by the mercurial Cristiano Ronaldo.

Despite everything, his commitment to the cause could never be doubted, and this old picture displays it perfectly. 

As the quartet of Toni Kroos, Cristiano Ronaldo, Sergio Ramos and James Rodriguez basked in glory, with all the cameras pointed in their direction, Benzema stood in the background, beaming proudly. 

Fast forward to the present day, and the background has to be an obscure concept for the Frenchman.

He’s no longer the support act or an associate, Benzema is now the talisman, the headliner, Real Madrid’s very own rockstar.

A cause of concern for the fiercest of opponents, all Benzema needs is a chance, rather, half a chance, if not, he’ll create one himself. 

When you spot the white hand wrap, you know he’s coming, a Benzema goal seems inevitable. 

17 goals in his previous 12 appearances, 46 in 48 overall, along with 13 assists, not to mention his penchant for showing up at the greatest of occasions. 

From being booed by the Bernabeu to being worshipped by it, the 34-year-old has completed a sensational 180.

With the La Liga already in the bag and the Champions League in his sights, Benzema looks all set to complete his legacy. And until then, Madridistas everywhere will chant “Karim, Ballon d’Oroo” relentlessly.