Karim Benzema today marks 12 years since his signing for Real Madrid as a 21-year-old young starlet from Lyon. No less than 559 games later, with 279 goals and 144 assists, Karim Benzema has transformed himself into a living Real Madrid legend. The Frenchman was a key part of the historic Champions League threepeat and his football has only continued to evolve as he enters into the latter part of his career. To celebrate Benzema’s 12 years, below are 12 images from each season:
Karim Benzema scores his first Real Madrid goal in a 5-0 win over Xerez in September of 2009. He is now fifth on the all time Real Madrid goal-scoring charts, behind Santillana (290) ,Di Stefano (308), Raul (323) and Cristiano Ronaldo (450).
Arguably, one of the most important goals in Karim Benzema’s Real Madrid career. The Frenchman endured a difficult first 18 months at the club, unable to replicate his goal scoring figures from his days at Lyon. On January 26, 2011 - in the first leg of the Copa Del Rey semi-final vs Sevilla at the Sanchez Pizjuan - Benzema broke the deadlock with a beautiful piece of individual skill. Not only did he break the deadlock, but he found the confidence to then ignite his Real Madrid career.
Benzema’s first league title came in the 2011-2012 season under Jose Mourinho. Benzema scored 32 goals and provided 19 assists in a campaign that saw the squad reach the semi-finals of the Champions League, the quarter-finals of the Copa Del Rey, and win the La Liga title with 121 goals and a record setting 100 points.
One of the Frenchman’s best individual performances in a Real Madrid shirt under the lights of the Santiago Bernabeu. Karim Benzema put on a show in November of 2012 against Athletic Bilbao, including a curled shot with his weaker left foot which nestled into the bottom corner of the net.
The quest for the long coveted “La Decima” saw a host of historic performances and goals, but the Coentrao-Benzema connection in the Santiago Bernabeu may be one of the most underrated goals of that journey. The Portuguese left back slotted a low driven ball across goal with Karim smelling blood and lining up the tap-in to help secure a 1-0 first leg win.
A fond memory of the first Carlo Ancelotti era was the 3-1 victory over Barcelona in 2014 at the Santiago Bernabeu. Karim Benzema scored the third and final goal in the match after being slipped through by James Rodriguez.
A 10-2 victory over Rayo Vallecano in December of 2015 saw the BBC in all it’s glory. Cristiano Ronaldo scored two goals, Gareth Bale scored four goals, and Karim Benzema netted a hattrick in what was an offensive onslaught against the small neighboring Madrid based club.
The most iconic Karim Benzema moment, that dribble sequence against Atletico Madrid in the semi-finals of the Champions League. When future generations ask, “What made Karim Benzema special?”, a clip of the jaw-dropping skill showcased in the Calderon should be all that is required.
A goal in the final of the Champions League — a moment to forever be etched into the memory. Karius’ blunder was Benzema’s reward. The striker took a calculated decision to stick his foot out and block the Liverpool keeper’s distribution, resulting in a bizarre but perfectly legal goal.
Karim Benzema and Vinicius JR were amongst the few bright lights in a dark 2018-2019 season. Madrid shuffled through no less than three coaches (Lopetegui, Solari, and Zidane) in what can be categorized as an abysmal season. Benzema opened the scoring against Ajax in the first leg of the round of 16 in the UEFA Champions League, away in the Amsterdam Areana, after a lovely set-up from the Brazilian teenager.
Another goal for the Benzema archives — an incredible volley vs Valencia post-lockdown as Madrid went on a tear to win their 34th La Liga title. Benzema was crucial in the run-in to the title with 7 goals and 2 assists in the final 11 matches.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man — Karim Benzema has had to play the hero on countless occasions in recent seasons. With Real Madrid on the brink of elimination in the group stages of the Champions League, Benzema stepped up with two goals to save Zidane’s job and ensure Real Madrid’s passage to the knock out rounds.