Real Madrid

Karim Benzema - it's time to give him more credit as a Real Madrid legend

With his side facing a group-stage exit from the Champions League, the Frenchman popped up with two crucial goals

 
12:30pm on Friday 11th December 2020
By
David Lynch

Karim Benzema's status as a Real Madrid legend isn't even a debate.

For all the time playing second fiddle to Cristiano Ronaldo, the Portuguese knew exactly how important Benzema was to facilitating his incredible goal tally.

And just because Benz was unable to score 50 in a season like CR7, doesn't mean he hasn't been among the best pieces of business Real Madrid have ever conducted.

Once again on Wednesday against Borussia Monchengladbach, he delivered when it really mattered, and turned what could have been a difficult evening into a straightforward one.

The Spanish giants had never failed to progress from the Champions League group stages in their 25 separate seasons in the competition. However, defeat on matchday six against the Germans would have consigned them to the Europa League for the second half of the campaign.

Fortunately for Zinedine Zidane, he has a group of players with plenty of experience in crunch situations - not least his fellow Frenchman.

The 32-year-old scored twice to lead Real to a 2-0 victory that not only saw them through to the knockout stages but also ensured they clinched top spot in Group B.

His two goals, seven shots, and 10 touches in the box marked him out as the most effective forward on the pitch by some distance, earning him an impressive FootballCritic rating of 9.7.

32 yrs - S (C) - Real Madrid
92 
Defending
Creative
Passing
Attacking
Shooting
Decisive
Aerials
Physical
JavaScript chart by amChartsLDefendingCreativePassingAttackingShootingDecisiveAerialsPhysical10-10-5051015100%
793
Played matches
9
4
3
Shots P90
3.40
Shots On target P90
1.59
Successful passing %
86%
Final third passes P90
16.69

The forward recently became Real Madrid's fifth-highest goalscorer of all-time, surpassing legends such as Ferenc Puskas and Hugo Sanchez. Cristiano Ronaldo (450) and Alfredo Di Stefano (308) are the only non-Spanish players to have found the back of the net more times while representing the club.

And, now on 257, Benzema will have hopes of catching the latter figure in the seasons to come.

That is not beyond the realms of possibility given that his last two campaigns have featured a combined 57 goals in all competitions.

An average of 3.4 shots P90 in La Liga this term for a player who posted 3.5 and 3.2 in 2019-20 and 2018-19 respectively means there are no signs of decline in terms of productivity just yet.

As such, it is likely that there are many more crucial contributions to come from a player whose habit of making them has perhaps gone under the radar.

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