27 April 2021 - Real Madrid

Benzema to the rescue

Real Madrid CF
Valeria Paz

The experienced striker stayed composed when it mattered most, much to the relief of our Champions Journalist fan reporter…

Watching your team go one-nil down within the first 15 minutes of a Champions League semi-final is no-one’s idea of a good time. Chelsea flew out of the blocks in Valdebebas and us Madridistas found ourselves in the same situation as Sergio Ramos, screaming encouragement for our team from afar. Albeit he was shouting from the sidelines and I was shouting at my television screen…

While the captain continued to bark orders from the stands, I quickly lost interest in raising my voice, bothered by the disappointing performance I was witnessing. Yet one player knows how to brighten the day of any Madrid fan: Karim Benzema. Despite the horrendous downpour he remained composed and demonstrated the skill that he’s always had, but perhaps never been truly appreciated for. I don’t know what Real Madrid would do without him.

Benzema’s stunning equaliser took his Champions League goal tally to 71, matching Real Madrid legend Raúl González to become the joint fourth highest scorer in the competition’s history. A player who has spent the majority of his career in Cristiano Ronaldo’s shadow is finally showing what he can do as the team’s focal point in attack – and earning his just rewards from critics in the process. The striker has a wealth of experience for Madrid and continues to put the team on his back with his repeated rescue acts, bringing a sense of calm to the squad.

Eden Hazard spoke after the game and it’s hard to disagree with his post-match comments: “It could’ve been worse.” At one stage it felt as though the worst was upon us but, as London awaits, one thing is clear: as long as Benzema is on the pitch, we’re in with a shot.

Our Champions Journalist fan reporter:
Valeria Paz
Valeria first remembers cheering for Real Madrid as an eight-year-old and was soon sharing her dad’s passion for the club. Her top player is Iker Casillas, who she says, “was, is and will always be my favourite athlete. He taught me that success is not only about effort, but also about patience, passion and about staying true to yourself and your instincts. He’s a living legend.” So far, nothing tops Real Madrid’s 2014 Champions League win against Atlético. “I couldn’t hold back my tears when Ramos scored that 90th minute goal,” she says. “Celebrating with my best friends was unforgettable.”
About Champions Journalist fan reporters: These blogs have been written by winners of our annual Champions Journalist competition as well as a selection of editors from various fan page accounts. Together they offer their unique insights from the group stages all the way to the final.
Champions Journalist
With thanks to our Champions Journalist winner
Valeria Paz
Champions Journalist is an annual competition that gives fans a chance to write about their club for Champions Journal.