2022 FIFA World Cup: Karim Benzema Profile
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One of the players who could light up the 2022 FIFA World Cup in the colours of the defending champions France is striker Karim Benzema. The 34-year-old, like a fine wine, has gotten better with age and has established himself as one of the top attacking players on the planet in the past couple of years.
The Lyon-born player has been especially brilliant for Real Madrid, recently underlining his brilliance with a hat-trick for Los Blancos which helped them complete a stunning comeback in a UEFA Champions League knockout tie against Paris Saint-Germain.
At 34 years and 80 days, Benzema became the oldest player to score a Champions League hat-trick, surpassing Olivier Giroud (ironically, given that the two have had a sometimes acrimonious rivalry), who was 34 years and 63 days when he hit a treble for Chelsea at Sevilla in 2020.
“We needed the fans and this is for them. It was a very difficult game but we pushed till the end and we deserve the win. We lost the first leg, they went 1-0 up, but our fans pushed us to give everything right to the final whistle,” said Benzema after the match.
"Benzema is a fantastic leader of our team, a fantastic forward,” said Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti. “I'm very proud of Karim's attitude. Benzema showed again why he’s the number one striker in the world. It’s time he was at the top of the Ballon d’Or rankings."
Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois agrees: "Karim is, along with [Robert] Lewandowski, the best number nine in the world right now. He's a great player, a real captain, and he carried the team to victory with his goals and his class."
Benzema missed out on the last World Cup, with coach Didier Deschamps overlooking the player, but he is sure to feature for Les Bleus at Qatar 2022 if he keeps up his extraordinary level of form – as well as the fact that he has immense experience, with over 90 international caps under his belt.
Full name: Karim Mostafa Benzema
Born: 19 December 1987 in Lyon
Senior club career: Olympique Lyon (France, 2004-2009), Real Madrid (Spain, 2009 – present)
Club career stats: 747 appearances, 384 goals
International debut: France 1-0 Austria, 28 March 2007, International Friendly
International stats: 93 caps, 36 goals
France squads: Euro 2008; Euro 2012; 2014 World Cup; Euro 2020
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