Karim Mostafa Benzema, often described as an "immensely talented striker" who is "strong and powerful" and "a potent finisher from inside the box," plays for Spanish club Real Madrid and the France national team as a striker. Here are some very interesting facts about the French footballer:
Benzema is one of the best French striker who with his skill and agility has scored 266 goals in 385 appearances for his clubs and 27 for his national team in 81 matches.
He has to his credit of scoring the fastest goal in the history of El Clasico. In 2011, he scored a goal in 21 seconds after kickoff but still lost the game 3-1.
He was born Karim Mostafa Benzema, on December 19, 1987, in Lyon, France, to Hafid and Wahida Djebbara.
Nicknamed ‘Coco’ he is fearless and known to speak his mind off. As the story goes, when he was drafted into first team of Lyon, according to tradition, he gave speech which was ridiculed. His spontaneous reply was ‘Do not laugh. I was once a ball boy to you all, but now I am here to take your place.’
He isdescendent of Algerian family who migrated to France from the Ben Djelli in 1950s. He is third of nine children with five sisters and three brothers, two of whom are also footballers.
He started his footballing career at the age of eight with hometown club of Bron Terraill on when his talent attracted Olympique Lyonnais club and was inducted into the club’s academy.
After dating ZahiaDehar, Jenifer Yael, Rihanna, Analica Chavez, he finally found Chloe de Launay worthy of bearing him a daughter Melia, who was born on February 2014. He later broke-up with Launay and secretly married Cora Gauthier in December 2016, who gave birth to a baby boy named Ibrahim on May 25, 2017.
He ascended up the youth categories in the academy and was soon representing the under-16 team. He scored 38 goals in the domestic league for U-16 youth players, the ‘Championnat National des 16 ans.’
He made his professional debut on December 11, 2014, for his club’s reserve team was the top goal scorer with ten goals in 11 appearances as they finished second in the group.
On January 15, 2005, he made his first team debut as a substitute against F.C Metz and made the starting line-up in April in a 1-0 win against R.C Lens.
He scored his first professional goal as 17 years old on December 06, 2005, against Rosenborg of Norwegian in the UEFA Champions League match.
Benzema won his first title in national colors as part of ‘Generation 1987’ when they won the 2004 UEFA European Under-17 Football Championship. He appeared in two matches and scored one goal.
He was part of under-18 team which won the 2005 Meridian Cup held in Turkey. He was tournament top scorer with five goals and led France to the championship title.
In December 2006, he was approached by Algerian Football Federation President Hamid Haddadj and by its national team coach, Jean-Michael Cavalli because of his North African roots. He rejected the offer preferring for French national team.
On March 28, 2007, he made his debut for the French national team against Austria. He celebrated his call-up with a goal from the edge of the box on 53 minutes from a free kick by Samir Nasri. Although he was selected earlier for national duty on November 09, 2006, he could not play because of thigh injury.
By 2007-08 season he was entrusted as the lead striker and sported the jersey number 10 for the first time. The manager Alain Perrin faith in him with was justified with 31 goals in 51 matches in all form.
With 20 goals and 07 assists he helped Lyon win its seventh league title and was awarded the ‘Trophee du Meilleur Buteur.’ He was also named the Ligue 1 Player of the Year and made it to Team of the Year.
On March 13, 2008, he signed a contract extension with Lyon until 2013 worth around € 300,000 to 400,000 to become one of the highest paid footballers in France.
But on July 09, 2009, he was transferred to Real Madrid and signed an incentive based contract for six years’ worth€41 million. He was presented officially that night at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, without any jersey number.
Although he was the top goal scorer for Real Madrid in the preseason, his form declined and was criticized by the Spanish media. The Real Madrid manager, Jose Mourinho and the French national team coach, Laurent Blanc were critical of his overweight and lethargy in the field.
In the Champions League round of 16 on February 22, 2011, against his former club Lyon, he came as a substitute in the 64th minutes and scored a goal a minute later for his 100th goal of his professional career. He did not celebrate out of respect for his former club.
At the start of 2011-12 season, on the advice of Real Madrid Sports Director Zinedine Zidane Benzema visited ‘Merano Palace’ a high performance clinic to reduce his weight and to build his muscle mass. He was 8 kg lighter and was impressive in scoring eight goals in seven matches.
On December 18, 2012, Benzema, was presented with ‘France Football’s French Player of the Year’ award for the second successive year. He was chosen ahead of Franck Ribery and Hugo Lloris.
On August 06, 2014, he extended his contract for further five years which will keep him with the club until 2019. However on September 20, 2017, he would renew his contract well before his time, with a commitment until 2012.
On September 16, 2014, he scored Real Madrid’s 1,000th goal in European competition in a 5-1 victory over F.C Basel in the Champions League. Earlier in 2010 in a match against A.J Auxerre, he scored a hat-trick to record Madrid’s 300th goal in the championship.
He earned his tenth title with Real Madrid as part of its squad for the 2016 FIFA Club World Cup in Japan. The won the title defeating Kashima Antlers 4-2 in extra time with goal and assist.
He was involved in controversy for blackmailing his fellow teammate Mathieu Valbuena on November 04, 2015, and was arrested by police.
Benzema was not considered for the UEFA Euro 2016, by the French Football Federation. He accused France head coach Didier Deschamps of taking decision under pressure from racist element.
On July 20, 2010, Benzema along with Frank Ribery was questioned by Paris Police and indicted on the charge of ‘solicitation of a minor prostitute.’
Since 2008, he has regularly appeared on the cover of the French version of the annual FIFA video game and he is sponsored by Adidas Company.