Age is just a number. Karim Benzema knows it better than almost anybody else. The Real Madrid hitman grabbed an incredible hat-trick against Chelsea in the first leg of their quarter-final tie. That was his second hat-trick in a row, having orchestrated a stunning turnaround against PSG in the last round.
Karim Benzema’s game by numbers vs Chelsea:
100% long passes completed (2/2)
90% pass accuracy
53 total touches
4 ball recoveries
4 shots (3 on target)
Simply world class. 🇫🇷💫 pic.twitter.com/ggMap5TWx7
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) April 6, 2022
Benzema has come into his own ever since the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo in 2018 as Los Blancos’ leading light. He is a strong contender for the Ballon d’Or, with Madrid also sitting as frontrunners in La Liga. His linkup play with Vinicius Jr. has propelled Carlo Ancelotti’s men to even greater heights.
Also read: Why are Real Madrid called Los Blancos?
Luka Modrić, Karim Benzema. Never ending beauty. Mamma mia. ⚪️⭐️ #UCL
Enjoy Champions League stars – and it’s 81 goals in UCL for Karim. pic.twitter.com/X6Xozrp8bw
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) April 6, 2022
The irrepressible Frenchman is truly one of a kind, becoming the first from his country to score 10+ goals in a single Champions League campaign. FootTheBall highlights his top moments for Real Madrid over the years.
That first hat-trick
Before his twin hat-tricks, Karim Benzema had hit two more. His first one in the Champions League came in his debut season back in 2010. Facing Auxerre in the group stage, Benzema scored three times as Real Madrid won 4-0. The French striker has always had an enigmatic flair about him which was on the show right from the start.
Karim Benzema has 2 hat-tricks in the Champions League:
8th December 2010 (v Auxerre)
8th December 2015 (v Malmo) pic.twitter.com/Lgf8vVKnVG
— Coral (@Coral) December 9, 2015
Fastest goal in El Clasico
One of the most hallowed fixtures in world football, Real Madrid vs Barcelona is always special. Benzema holds the record for the quickest goal in the history of the fixture, set in 2011. Santiago Bernabeu hosted the tie, with Benzema scoring within 21 seconds. Unfortunately for him, Madrid would go on to lose the match 3-1. Benzema has an incredible record in El Clasico, scoring 10 goals and having nine assists.
The 1000th man
Karim Benzema has had the honor of setting a few more team records along the way for Real Madrid. In a group stage match against Basel, he scored the 1000th goal for Los Blancos in European competitions. The Swiss side had no answer to Madrid’s overall dominance, losing 5-1 on the night in Spain.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) September 17, 2014
The tallest French scorer
This should come across as no surprise but Benzema is the most prolific goal scorer from France in the Champions League. He surpassed Thierry Henry’s haul of 51 goals in 2017 by scoring twice against APOEL Nicosia. Currently, Benzema stands at 82 strikes, just behind Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, and Robert Lewandowski in the charts.
Read Also: Karim Benzema returns to France
Better than Henry?
Karim Benzema can rightly stake the claim for the greatest ever French striker, taking the coveted place from Henry. He has already crossed Henry in the Champions League scoring charts and overtook him in the all-time leaderboard too. Benzema’s brace against Mallorca in March 2022 took him to 413 goals in his career. Given how efficient he has been and is only increasing his form, the 500 mark should be in sight soon.
🔝🇫🇷 @Benzema (413 goals) has overtaken Thierry Henry (411 goals) to become the highest-scoring French player of all-time! 👏
🇪🇸 @RealMadrid: 311 goals
🇫🇷 @OL: 66 goals
🇫🇷 @equipedefrance: 36 goals#RealFootball pic.twitter.com/DoVXtODR9l
— Real Madrid C.F. 🇬🇧🇺🇸 (@realmadriden) March 16, 2022
Old is gold
Real Madrid overcoming PSG in the round-of-16 in 2022 was the stuff of legends. Karim Benzema turned the tie on its head within a matter of minutes in the second half. That hat-trick, his third in the competition was also a bit more special. At 34-years-old, Benzema became the oldest to score three goals. Yes, that is right. Not even Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi has managed this feat, and are unlikely to achieve it as well.
Consistency is key
Karim Benzema has been around for a long, long time in the business of scoring goals. That is certainly true when it comes to the Champions League. Benzema has scored in 17 consecutive seasons of the competitions, behind only Lionel Messi. The 2021-22 campaign has seen him find the net 11 goals and is the only one goal behind Robert Lewandowski.
Captain leads the way
Benzema has been in lethal form of late and scored his first hat-trick of 2021-22 came against Celta Vigo last year. Given the captaincy by Carlo Ancelotti, he became the first Madrid player with the armband to achieve this feat since Raul in 2008. He has been spearheading Madrid’s charge in Spain and Europe with goal contributions all throughout the season.
300 and going strong
Benzema is one of the greatest players in Madrid’s history, and became the fourth-highest scorer in the club’s history in March. A penalty against Valencia in a 4-1 win ensured him a place amongst the pantheon of greats. He has since crossed Alfredo Di Stefano to move into third.
300 – Karim @Benzema 🇫🇷 has scored 300 goals in 584 appearances for @realmadriden in all competitions, becoming the fourth player to reach that milestone in club's history, after Cristiano Ronaldo 🇵🇹 (450), Raúl González Blanco 🇪🇸 (323) and Alfredo Di Stéfano 🇦🇷🇪🇸 (308). Olympus. pic.twitter.com/pdXNzfh1Cc
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) January 8, 2022
One of Karim Benzema’s best moments came in the Champions League final of 2018. Benzema pounced on a goalkeeping error from Loris Karius to give Real Madrid the lead. The match would also feature another brilliant effort from Gareth Bale. It would be Benzema’s fourth Champions League crown to cap a truly spectacular run for the club.