Karim Benzema Carries Real Madrid Over Chelsea

LONDON – Luka Modric, so far, has seen everything he can see. He has won four Champions League titles. He played in the last World Cup. He has spent ten years at Real Madrid, one of the best players of his generation. He and one of the best players of his generation. He, obviously, is not easily attracted or surprised.

Just 20 minutes into the first leg of Real Madrid’s Champions League quarter-final clash against Chelsea on Wednesday, Modric saw what it all did. He stood on the edge of the Chelsea penal court, admiring the flying cross he had just handed over. He would have liked it: a smaller number, a leap, from the goal of Edouard Mendy, and his teammate Karim Benzema.

Modric’s watchful eye would detect the inconsistency of the ball and the player of the match. Benzema was a little ahead, or the cross was too far away. It was outside an inch or more, but few players appreciate it more than Modric; these things are important.

However, all was not lost. Benzema had a choice. The most notable was the attempt to direct the ball to Mendy’s right. Or, perhaps, he was able to try to repeat a title that had opened up a few minutes earlier, one of the strongest that went through Mendy before he got a chance to recognize it. In a nutshell, Benzema could have had the time to lower the ball, and play from there.

What Modric could not expect was what followed. Benzema, leaning back slightly, swung the ball slowly, almost softly, back to Mendy’s goal. It hung in the air for years, as it were, and pushed back into a distance. There was a moment of silence as Mendy, Modric and everyone else inside Stamford Bridge waited to see where they could get to.

It settled, finally, inside the tree. As Benzema turned, his big smile and his hands open, to run to the Real Madrid fans, Modric looked cool. He waited for the hit, maybe two, before jumping, just a little bit, in the air, his hands up, a disbelieving smile on his face. Occasionally, Karim Benzema can impress Luka Modric.

Thus, he is not alone. The arc of Benzema’s work, of course, is a little vague. It is not necessary to portray her as a late gardener, a brilliant talent who waited until the last few years of her career to fulfill her long-held promise, in order to learn to make the best use of her gifts.

Benzema has always been a vivid, superficial, mindless artist; He was, after all, just 19 years old when Jean-Pierre Papin – who was not a lone fighter, in his day – claimed that Benzema had the power of (Brazil) Ronaldo, Ronaldinho’s ideas, Thierry Henry’s beauty and David’s brutality. Trézéguet.

At the age of 21, Benzema was about to sign for Barcelona, ​​and ended up moving to Real Madrid. He spent the first ten years of his career in Spain scoring – almost – a goal in a number of games, a cultural symbol of elite strikers, and much more. Zinedine Zidane, his longtime coach, described him differently as a “very good” and a “complete football player.”

That he wasn’t a show star, of course, doesn’t take much of an explanation: He was playing just a few yards from one of the greatest strikers of all time, a forward who made one goal in every two looks gorgeous and classic. and really, when you thought about it, something frustrating.

Benzema was very happy with this. He willingly gave of his own strength, his own ambitions, to help his friend grow his own. In doing so, he ensured that no player was, without a doubt, better than the one who suffered the most and redefined the possibilities under Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

The golden age that Benzema enjoyed, since Ronaldo’s departure in 2018, is well-regarded as a striking figure: Not that it shines brighter than before, but that the burning lantern that for a long time dawned on everyone. the light point is gone. That’s when it’s possible to see Benzema in detail.

What has been seen is the surprise of the actor that Papin described to him all those years ago. Benzema has been – always has been, in particular – a complete leader, every attack made a body, yet even that reduces him. He is the player who makes this Real Madrid, old and inclusive, the whole team.

The evidence is clear. A few weeks ago, in his absence, Carlo Ancelotti’s Madrid were burdened at home by Barcelona who resumed. That night, when they lost 4-0 and the Bernabeu mocked and whistled their heroes, Real Madrid looked like it should be: a team that is struggling and struggling from time to time, half. the team that had a day and a half has a team waiting for its chance.

On both sides of the controversy, with Benzema in the team, Real Madrid have beaten Paris St.-Germain and now – most surprisingly, in imitation of the French suicide squad – beat Chelsea, the European champion, on. his place. In both cases, Benzema has not only scored all three goals, he has become Madrid’s brain and heart, his place of stability and rise.

He is, almost alone, the proof of Real Madrid’s continued existence in Europe. Ancelotti, now, will be confident of helping his team reach the second consecutive second season in the Spanish capital next week – although he will certainly not agree with what Chelsea teammate Thomas Tuchel told his Chelsea team-mate, that the tie is over – as long as Benzema loses. available. He is the One who makes everything possible. Maybe that should not be surprising. He may always have been the one to make it all happen. It’s just beginning to realize now.

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