At 34 years old, Karim Benzema is living the best moment of his career, being fundamental in Real Madrid to reach the quarter-finals and in the possible qualification for the semifinals of the Champions League, after defeating Chelsea this Wednesday in the first leg in London with three of his goals.
And although he has not been able to be as decisive with his country’s team, Benzema is already considered by many to be one of the best footballers in the world. Several are even encouraged to say that he should win the next Ballon d’Or. One of those who agrees with this is his partner ‘Nacho’ Fernández.
José Ignacio Fernández, Real Madrid defender and teammate of the French star, I do not hesitate to affirm in an interview for the international chain CNN that several years ago the forward of the white team has made merits to receive the award.
“He has been proving it for several years. I’ve been with Karim for several years and what he has done this season and the previous one is very difficult to see in any other player at a European level. He is a world player and of course he would deserve to win the Golden Ball”, said the Spanish defender, assuring that it is the right time for Benzema to be recognized as the best footballer in the world.
In addition, Fernández added that it would be an honor for him to have a third teammate who manages to win the Ballon d’Or, as Luka Modric and Cristiano Ronaldo previously won it, both being Real Madrid players at the time.
“I would be delighted to have one more teammate to win the ballon d’or. I’ve already had Modric and Cristiano, having one more would be spectacular”, said Benzema’s teammate.
The French footballer has been at Real Madrid since 2009, when he arrived from Lyon in France. However, for many years he was in the shadow of Cristiano Ronaldo and during that time he was heavily criticized by the press and by a sector of the Madrid team’s fans.
Once the Portuguese crack left for Youth of Italy, Benzema brought out his best version and became the white team’s benchmark in attack. Since then he has accumulated 89 goals with the Spanish team and recently, with a hat-trick of his own, Madrid were able to eliminate PSG from the knockout stages of the Champions League.
Karim Benzema, the same man who scored a hat-trick in 17 minutes to eliminate Paris Saint-Germain, reappeared this Wednesday with two goals against Chelsea before the first half hour of play. The line of three placed by coach Thomas Tuchel in defense was not enough to avoid the superb headers of the Frenchman to overtake his team in the most attractive series of this phase in the Champions League.
At 21 minutes, ‘Gato’ served a ball into the void for Vinícius, who received and sent a ‘pumped’ center into the heart of the area. Benzema came from behind and headed into the corner, opening the scoring with an impossible shot for goalkeeper Édouard Mendy.
Just three minutes later, the ‘9’ appeared again after a Modrić cross from the right flank. Karim stood between the central defenders and with a subtle blow of the head he changed the stick to the goalkeeper of the ‘blues’. With the score at 2-0, it seemed that it was going to be a chore for the meringues at a Stamford Bridge that sold all its tickets to witness the first leg of the quarterfinals.
Chelsea, woken up by the bucket of water caused by Benzema’s brace, managed to discount in the 41st minute with a goal from Kai Havertz, returning the suspense to the game in London.
Before the minute of the second half, Mendy made a serious error on the way out, leaving a short pass in the direction of Rudiger. Benzema got up early for the German center-back and scored the third of the night for himself and to once again give Real Madrid a two-goal advantage, which dreams of reaching the semifinals, taking an almost lapidary 3-1 from London for the series.