For over five years, Karim Benzema has endured the eager criticism of the Santiago Bernabéu, a fact that seems unremarkable until you remember: The France international is still only 26 years old.Between La Liga and Ligue 1, the overshadowed Merengue already has five league titles. Last year, he added a European trophy to his résumé, scoring 24 times in a trident flanked by Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.
Maybe those names – undoubtedly more grand, more dynamic, more renown – are why the debate persists around Benzema, though his numbers put doubts of his quality to shame. Since moving from Lyon to Madrid in the summer of 2009, the elegant sniper has 122 goals in 252 all competition appearances. And that’s while he’s had to share the load.
As elegant as he is brutal — like an adolescent grizzly bear who learned to play soccer — Karim Benzema is the total package on the field. From slashing runs and fancy flicks, to head-down charges and cannon-powerful clean-up finishes in the box, he has the tools to be a weapon in any system. The fact that he’s so wildly inconsistent only makes him more interesting. One weekend, he’s a threat for a hat trick with two assists. The next, Real Madrid fans wonder who he has dirty pictures of to stay in the lineup.
Pictures (and video) are big reason why Karim Benzema is on this list. He may be the greatest Instagrammer in the game. (“Greatest” in this case meaning “most self-congratulatory and best soundtracked.”) While you were reading this, he was sending pics with his custom Jordans scuffing the leather seats of his Bentley like it was a dirty Corolla. Karim is a human DM. A walking lifestyle brand. His biopic would be called “Get Like Me: The Karim Benzema Story.”
This man posted his own national team highlight clips set to Migos, 2Pac, Rick Ross and all manner of French Trap music. Benzema takes photos on the hood of his cars like it was the Sears portrait studio. The reckless streak that plagues him on the field has crept into his personal life. He’s a scandal away from being an outcast and a goal away from being a legend. Karim Benzema is a fire dancer of the highest order. Easy to love, easy to hate. Impossible to ignore.
The Fake numbers
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