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Karim Benzema, a playmaker with a striker’s mind

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The latest show that Karim Benzema gave us with Real Madrid in La Liga, made us remember that he’s a playmaker inside a striker’s body. 

The fact that Karim Benzema is arguably amongst the best players in the world isn’t new, he’s been consistent for many years. The problem he always faced was living under Cristiano Ronaldo’s shadow for nine consecutive seasons.

We are living in the most accelerated era that football ever experienced in history, there is a fair number of players performing at levels we never experienced before in this volume.

The undisputed quality that Messi and Ronaldo brought to the table has spoiled us for more than a decade. But we failed to see the reality behind that, we missed the opportunity to appreciate truly amazing players such as Karim Benzema.

If the Frenchman had been born 20 years ago, there is no question he would’ve been considered amongst the top 3 players of that era. But the two titans made us get desensitized to the rest of the players we have to enjoy, we became too demanding thanks to those two. 

The best number ‘9’ in the world. 

This is a debate in which at least four players can be included over the last five years. Karim Benzema is certainly at the top of the conversation every year. But we also have Robert Lewandowski, Luis Suarez, and Harry Kane inside the conversation.

But the Frenchman has something that the other three players don’t. He is a playmaker at heart. Benzema’s creativity has been a double-edged sword throughout his entire career.

Wearing the number ‘9’ shirt makes everybody expect an insane number of goals from him every season. But we completely miss the point with him is that’s the only thing we expect.

Karim has so much more to offer and he keeps proving it every week while playing for Real Madrid. This evening’s backheel assist is a tale of a misunderstood genius who is finally getting the spotlight he deserves. 

He learned it from ‘Guti’. 

Watching that insane assist for Casemiro brings us that unforgettable memory of ‘Guti’ setting Benzema up for a very similar goal. The Spanish midfielder is widely considered one of the most underrated playmakers who ever lived.

One of his specialties was the backheel pass. There is a whole library of the most exquisite assists you can imagine from any star in football history. Benzema was on the other end of that historic night in La Coruña. Tonight, Karim paid homage to his former teammates while claiming La Liga’s top spot in a strange season.

A night like this can only make me remember how unfair he’s been treated by his national team. Very few will argue that Benzema deserved to be part of that 2018 title-winning side in the Russia World Cup.

I would argue that this season has been the best in Karim Benzema’s career at Real Madrid, but only because Ronaldo isn’t around. The striker has been at the same level of performance for a very long time but he always knew his place. Now it’s his time to shine.