Champions League. Karim Benzema, the striker who dazzles the world: “It’s a magical night, like against PSG”

Not without a certain melancholy in advance, there is much insistence that the next world will be the last of Leo Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. It would also be fair to broaden the perspective a bit and point out that in Qatar Karim Benzema for one last performance that any football fan, regardless of nationality, should be grateful for, in the name of entertainment and individual hierarchy. The Frenchman, at the age of 34, only disputed the brazil 2014, with three goals in five games, until Germany blocked his way in the quarterfinals.

Then came the court case in which he was involved as a secondary participant in a sexual blackmail against the footballer Matthew Valbuena. While the long process lasted in court, the French team stopped calling him. Image issue, plus the need to send a message about the eligibility of the players. Time did his job. The accumulated goals and the quality of Benzema were more impressive than the slow judicial investigation, which in November declared him an accomplice, sentenced to one year in prison suspended and fined 75,000 euros. By then, the French Football Federation and the coach didier deschamps They had already lifted the veto for him to return as a companion of Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann, in one of the most fearsome attacks that can be seen in the World Cup.

Benzema’s first

French is a universal crack, although the Golden Ball and the The best from fifa have not had him among the great candidates in recent years. Maybe 2022 will be yours. At least nobody dazzles as much as him, already after the first quarter of the year. It is turning the Champions League into its star catwalk. After finishing Paris Saint Germain with a hat-trick in 17 minutes in the second half, when Real Madrid seemed doomed to elimination, Benzema repeated the dose at Stamford Bridge with 3-1 against Chelsea to begin caressing the semifinals, a task that the team of Charles Ancelotti should close next Tuesday at the Santiago Bernabéu.

The Italian coach, who traveled to England at the last minute after recovering from Covid, recounted a smiling situation after the victory: “Before the game, Benzema could not find his accreditation to enter the stadium. I told him to be quick or what couldn’t play. Luckily, he found it. How would you define him? I have no words. I would say the great Karim”.

The second, again head

Chelsea no longer has roman abramovich as owner and is close to giving up his current Champions League title. His ownership is up in the air because of the Russian businessman’s ties to Vladimir Putin and his crown in the European countryside staggered by the work of Benzema. Although it is repeated ad nauseam, it does not squeak in anyone’s ears: Benzema is a scorer who plays like a No. 10; or a No. 10 that carries a beast of the area inside.

If PSG was liquidated by surprise, Chelsea he got up early when the series was a blank page. Two headers, at 21 and 24 minutes of the first half, so that the rain that fell on London would freeze the local fans. In the first goal, he put together a wall with vinicius in three quarters to go look for the definition to the area: a header to the angle. a great goal made in Benzema. His partnership with the Brazilian, which now flows like poetry, had a more intricate beginning. It was in a last Champions League match against Borussia Monchengladbach when Benzema emphatically asked Ferland Mendy not to pass the ball to Vinicius, by then a specialist in getting entangled with the ball. The former Flamengo matured, his magic became something more concrete and this season he is an ideal partner for the Frenchman.

As well as in the Bernabéu Gianluigi Donnarumma paralyzed with the ball at his feet when he saw Benzema coming, now it was eduardo mendy whose lower limbs were knotted by leaving a short pass against the harassment of the French “9″: 3-1 and a more than opportune brake on the comeback that Chelsea was trying, which suffered with the two Real Madrid wingers. When Benzema did not punish him, the imposing Thibaut Courtois emerged as the goalie-rubber with stupendous volleys.

The third, attentive to Mendy’s mistake

Top scorer in the Spanish League with 24 goals, the attacker born in a Lyon neighborhood has 11 in the Champions League, one of the 12 by Robert Lewandowski, that this Wednesday came out of Villarreal dry with the 1-0 defeat of Bayern Munich. For the first time in his career, Benzema exceeds 40 goals in a season: he has 42, between Real Madrid (37 in 36 games) and France (five in seven).

ex-partner of Cristiano Ronaldo at Real Madrid, Benzema equaled him as the second player to score two consecutive hat-tricks in the play-off stage. Benzema arrived at the White House in 2009, from Lyon for 35 million euros. For more than seven years he fought for the position with Gonzalo Higuaín. When he established himself, he was never a selfish goalscorer, but often became a functional complement to the devastating effectiveness of Cristiano.

endured that Jose Mourinho he would classify him as a “cat”, as a contempt for his goalscoring ability. “With a dog, you hunt; with cat, less”, the Portuguese coach once expressed. When Cristiano went to Juventus, Florentino Pérez’s bet went through Gareth Bale to compensate for the bleeding of goals that was opening. But the Welshman spent it between the infirmary and the golf courses, while Benzema progressively increased his efficiency.

Edouard Mendy left a pass short and Benzema scored it with the third goalADRIAN DENNIS – AFP

As if it were a metaphor, Bale replaced him this Wednesday with five minutes remaining. While the group of Real Madrid fans who traveled to London shrieked at the cry of Karim, Karim!those from Chelsea booed Bale, an ex-Tottenham player.

“It’s a magical nightlike against PSG. All three are very important goals, but I prefer the third, because I made a mistake in the first half and it was in my head”, said Benzema after the match. A perfectionist who was reproached for the touch of his left foot inside the area that had gone next to a post in the first half. Ancelotti highlighted his influence in more than one dimension: “Every day is better, like wine. He is a player who has more leadership every day, he feels more important in the team and the squad. This is what makes the difference in him, this personality. He has exemplary behavior for everyone.” A player luxury.