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

Not without a certain anticipated melancholy, there is a lot of insistence that the next world will be the last of Lionel Messi And Cristiano Ronaldo. It would also be right to broaden the perspective a little and report it in Qatar Karim Benzema for one ultimate performance that every football fan, regardless of nationality, should be grateful for, in the name of entertainment and individual hierarchy. The French, at the age of 34, merely contested the Brazil 2014, with three goals in five games, until Germany stuck in the quarter-finals.

Then came the court case in which he was involved as a secondary participant in a sexual blackmail against the footballer Matteo Valbuena. While the lengthy trial lasted in court, the French team stopped calling him. Image issue, plus the need to send a message about player eligibility. Time has done his job. The goals accumulated and the quality of Benzema were more impressive than the slow judicial investigation, which in November declared him an accomplice, sentenced to one year of suspended prison and a € 75,000 fine. At that point, the French Football Federation and the coach Didier Deschamps They had already lifted the veto for him to return as a companion of Kylian Mbappé and Antoine Griezmann, in one of the most fearsome attacks to be seen in the World Cup.

The first of Benzema

French is a universal crack, even if the Golden Ball and the The best from FIFA they haven’t had him among the big candidates in recent years. Maybe 2022 will be yours. At least no one dazzles as much as he does, already after the first quarter of the year. He is transforming the Champions League into his leading catwalk. After finishing Paris Saint Germain with a hat-trick in 17 minutes in the second half, when Real Madrid looked destined for elimination, Benzema repeated the dose at Stamford Bridge with 3-1 against Chelsea to start caressing the semifinals, a task that falls to the team of Carlo Ancelotti should close next Tuesday at the Santiago Bernabéu.

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

The second, again test

Chelsea no longer have it Roman Abramovich as a starter and is close to giving up his current Champions League title. Ownership of him is pending due to the ties of the Russian businessman Vladimir Putin and his crown in the European countryside amazed by Benzema’s work. Despite repeating ad nauseam, it doesn’t creak in anyone’s ears: Benzema is a scorer who plays like a number 10; or a n. 10 carrying a beast from the area inside.

If PSG was unexpectedly liquidated, Chelsea he got up early when the series was a blank page. Two headings, a 21 and 24 minutes of the first half, so that the rain that fell on London froze the local fans. In the first goal, he put together a wall with vinicius in three quarters he goes to look for the definition for the area: a header for the corner. a great goal made in Benzema. His collaboration with the Brazilian, which now flows like a poem, had a more intricate start. It was the last Champions League match against Borussia Moenchengladbach when Benzema forcefully asked Ferland Mendy not to pass the ball to Vinicius, then a specialist in getting entangled with the ball. The former Flamengo has matured, his magic has become something more concrete and this season he is an ideal partner for the Frenchman.

As well as at the Bernabéu Gianluigi Donnarumma paralyzed with the ball at his feet when he saw Benzema arrive, now he was Edoardo Mendi whose lower limbs are tied leaving a short passage against the harassment of the French “9”: 3-1 and a more than appropriate stop on the comeback that Chelsea was experiencing, who suffered with the two Real Madrid winger. When Benzema doesn’t punish him, he imposes it Thibaut Courtois emerged as the rubber goalkeeper with stunning bursts.

The third, beware of Mendy’s mistake

Top scorer in the Spanish league with 24 goals, the striker born in a Lyon neighborhood has 11 in the Champions League, one of the 12 by Robert Lewandowski, that this Wednesday came dry from Villarreal 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 out of 36 games) and France (five out of seven).

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

endured that José Mourinho would classify him as a “cat”, as a contempt for his ability to score. “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 make up for the bleeding of goals he was opening. But the Welshman spent it between the infirmary and the golf courses, while Benzema progressively increased his efficiency.

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

As if it were a metaphor, Bale replaced him this Wednesday with five minutes left. While the group of Real Madrid fans who traveled to London screamed at the cry of “¡Karim, Karim”Chelsea booed Bale, a former Tottenham player.

“It’s a magical nightAs against PSG. All three are very important goals, but I prefer the third one, because I was wrong in the first half and it was in my head, ”Benzema said after the match. A perfectionist who was criticized for the left touch inside the area that in the first half had gone close to a post. 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 in the squad. This is what makes the difference in him, this personality. He has an exemplary behavior for everyone “. A luxury player.

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