How Benzema rose up to become Real Madrid Main star

Now in his 12th season with Los Blancos, the footballing world is finally waking up to what Real Madrid have known all along, that the 33-year-old Frenchman is one of the world’s great players.

When Real Madrid face Liverpool in the Champions League on Tuesday he has the chance to take centre stage. It is the first meeting between the teams since the 2018 final, when Benzema was more than prepared to play a supporting (but crucial) role to help the likes of Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Not any more. Since the departure of Ronaldo to Juventus and Bale’s loan to Tottenham Hotspur, Benzema has finally become his side’s main man, its focal point.

He is no longer Real Madrid’s best-kept secret.

Only four players have scored more goals at Real Madrid than Benzema’s tally of 273 – Ronaldo (450), Raul (323), Alfredo Di Stefano (308) and Santillana (290). And there is every indication that if he carries on at the present rate for another couple of seasons he will end up second only to Ronaldo.

There are only three players who have scored more goals in the history of the Champions League – Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski – and he has been in the starting line-up in four victorious Champions League finals.

This season he has scored 24 goals in all competitions, including 11 in the past 10 games.

But what has really stood out has been the importance of these goals, breaking the deadlock against Getafe, Valencia and Celta Vigo, earning a vital point against league leaders Atletico Madrid and scoring twice to secure a late comeback win against Elche.

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