One left in emotion and communion, the other slipped away under the whistles. Karim Benzema and Lionel Messi turned, each in their own way, a page in their careers this weekend. A day after the Argentinian played his last game in the colors of Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), after two mixed seasons on the banks of the Seine, Karim Benzema said his farewells, Sunday June 4, at the Santiago Bernabeu – the mythical enclosure of Real Madrid which has become “its” stadium over the years.
A few hours before the kick-off of the match against Athletic Bilbao, counting for the final day of La Liga, the “White House” announced the departure of its captain in a press release, after fourteen years of good and loyal service. .
To heal his exit, Karim Benzema ended his Madrid adventure with a goal, the 354e in the jersey of Real Madrid (in 648 games); a penalty scored full axis (72e), allowing his team to come back to the mark to complete the championship in second place (1-1). Under the songs of the Bernabeu, the one who has not always had the favor of the demanding Madrid public since his arrival in the Spanish capital is then released. A way for coach Carlo Ancelotti to pay tribute to the reigning Ballon d’Or.
It seems far away, the kid from Bron, in the Lyon area, landed in Madrid at the age of 21. If he was ambitious, in 2009, then entrusting The team realize his “Third dream: to play for Real Madrid” – the first and second being to be a professional footballer and to wear the Blues jersey – the young spearhead of the impetuous French “1987 generation” (with Samir Nasri and Hatem Ben Arfa, in particular) had to make a place in the expanded workforce of Real.
“A number 9 with a number 10 soul”
“If you don’t have a hunting dog, you must hunt with the cat”grumbled José Mourinho in 2010. Then coach of the You meringues, the Portuguese technician had not skimped on the criticism of “KB9”, which was not yet “el Nueve” (the Nine) recognized and acclaimed by the people of Madrid. Too tender, not killer enough in front of goal according to the current AS Roma coach. Put in competition with the Argentinian Gonzalo Higuain during his first seasons, Karim Benzema has nevertheless gradually revealed himself as a centerpiece of the Madrid system.
In his first life in the prestigious white jersey, worn before him by the French icons Raymond Kopa or Zinédine Zidane, the “cat” Benzema – who will hold Mourinho for a long time for this epithet – turns into an admirable lieutenant of Cristiano Ronaldo. Associated for eight seasons with the Portuguese star, the French striker lets “CR7” take the light – and a majority of the shots – to play the role of facilitator. “With him, I play in another role. I am more in construction, in movement, to create spaces”he summed up one day.
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