The hard fact is that even throughout his glittering, enduring, enviable career with Real Madrid, it has emerged that many neither fully understand nor appreciate the intricacy and intelligence of Benzema’s football. The modern game has increasingly become a nirvana for statisticians, number crunchers. Important information, yes, but it’s a trend that can distract from wit, on-pitch savvy, generosity of work ethic and the players who perform not to shine personally but to win. That’s rare.
Benzema is all of those things – and more. Victory comes first, second and third for him. Personal glory? He thinks it’s overrated. If he can create a goal, craftily drag an opposition defender into a space he shouldn’t really be occupying or serve up a goal for anyone else in a Real Madrid shirt, he’s just as happy as when he scores.
“When I’m on the pitch I enjoy myself enormously,” he says. “In the past few years I’ve scored quite a few goals and I’ve got quite a few assists, so that’s good. That’s what I enjoy most in football: doing what I do best on the pitch to help my team win. I love my team.