Karim Benzema scored his first LaLiga goal for Real Madrid on September 20, 2009, and on September 22, 2021, he reached number 200. A lot has happened in 12 years and the Frenchman has changed, too.
Benzema isn’t Madrid’s first captain, but with Marcelo more of a peripheral figure when it comes to playing time, he may as well be. Since, Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure, Benzema has taken on a greater role in this team and the armband emphasises his status.
The Frenchman had always been the silent Galactico, in the shadow of others, but now his authority is not questioned and he is embracing being the main man.
The new, more mature Benzema also has also had a new look in the last few years.
The beard, which he began to sport in 2015, has coincided with his rise to becoming an undisputed leader and key figure in the Madrid attack.
The 33-year-old’s bandaged right hand represents his complete commitment to the cause. He knows the team needs him and he won’t let them down.
The shirt number
In his first season, the former Lyon striker wore the No.11 shirt at Madrid, as part of the club’s plan to have Ronaldo wear the No.9 until his preferred No.7 was free.
When Raul left, Ronaldo could have his No.7 and Benzema his No.9. It is a shirt number synonymous with strikers and underlines his responsibility in front of goal. Benzema is now not only one of the club’s longest-serving No.9s but also one of the greatest.
The pistol fingers he celebrated his first goal with have been replaced by a more mature and fitting celebration, his open arms a display of power and confidence.
Time stops for no man and the 21-year-old rising star who arrived from Lyon is now a 33-year-old legend at Real Madrid. With a contract until 2023, Benzema intends to keep on scoring in all-white until he is at least 35.
Benzema is finally the main man and perhaps getting some long-overdue recognition from some quarters.
Playing alongside Cristiano Ronaldo, it was easy to be forgotten, but lately his performances have ensured his greatness is appreciated.
The lines in his hair
Benzema’s haircut has changed over the years, but his iconic two lines are always a part of it. He arrived with them and they remind him of an important part of his life.
The France international arrived in Madrid single but is now a family man with two children. That stability can be seen on the pitch and his family are an added motivation for him.
Once again, the departure of Ronaldo has allowed Benzema to shine and now he is being talked about in ways he never was but always deserved to be.
Stepping into the limelight, he is now a contender for awards like the Pichichi and the Ballon d’Or.
When he scored his first LaLiga goal for Los Blancos, Benzema was playing alongside Ruud van Nistelrooy.
Now his chief partner is Vinicius Junior, who was just nine years old when Benzema scored that first goal.
The scene, too, has changed. The Bernabeu has been completely transformed since 12 years ago and Benzema now has a newly-refurbished arena in which to score his goals.