Karim Benzema’s evolution at Real Madrid over the years has been an inspiring one. Ever since Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure in 2018, the French forward has become the undisputed leader at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Indeed, Benzema has taken massive strides forward and started to peak late into his career. The 34-year-old had arguably his best ever season for Los Blancos last time out, playing a major role in helping them win the Champions League and La Liga titles.
He scored 44 goals and provided 15 assists in all competitions, including 15 goals in 12 Champions League games. Thanks to his highly impressive campaign, the Frenchman is now a major favourite to win the Ballon d’Or award later this year.
While his performances in the last few seasons have been truly remarkable, some fans might’ve forgotten how good he was before 2018. In fact, some football fans have started claiming that Benzema was ‘irrelevant’ before moving out of Ronaldo’s shadow in 2018.
This was in response to a debate over who is the best striker of their generation, comparing Benzema with Robert Lewandowski and Luis Suarez. While some fans might think that Karim was ‘irrelevant’ before 2018, some facts prove that it’s actually a myth.
Benzema was really popular in France even before he started to rack up major goal numbers for Real Madrid. In fact, the 34-year-old was in the cover picture of a number of FIFA games even before the likes of Lewandowski or Suarez gained their fame.
Indeed, the Real Madrid striker was a centre-piece in France’s physical edition of the popular FIFA games from FIFA 09 till FIFA 13. He was accompanied by the likes of Wayne Rooney, Lionel Messi and even Ronaldinho on the covers of the different FIFA editions.
Before he even joined Real Madrid in 2009, Benzema had a prolific career at Olympique Lyonnais, scoring 43 goals in 112 appearances for them. The reason behind the French striker being on the cover of FIFA games is because he performed really well for Los Blancos early in his career.
In his second season, Benzema scored 26 goals in all competitions. In the 2011/12 season, in which they won the La Liga title, he scored 32 goals and provided 19 assists! In the 2012/13 season, he had 41 goal contributions including 20 goals!
Ronaldo’s incredible consistency and popularity might’ve kept Benzema in the background, but he has consistently delivered for Real Madrid throughout his stint. Going by his current form, he isn’t slowing down anytime soon.