Benzema embodies survival spirit after leading another Real Madrid recovery

Issued on: 04/28/2021 – 3:04 pm

Madrid (AFP)

Real Madrid may not reach the Champions League final but Karim Benzema gave them a chance, his genius against Chelsea is the embodiment of a team that still never knows when they will be beaten.

Benzema’s volley gives Madrid parity at the end of a first leg that could have been decisively won by Chelsea, the overall superior team, and left their opponents looking tired, rigid and even out of date for 25 minutes.

But the recent additions to Real Madrid’s 13 European Cups are due to their ability to shape these games at their will, weather the storms and then accelerate when the wind is behind them.

Time and again they have proven to be masters of the moments, their belief that they can win in the end creates certainty when it is most needed and doubts for their opponents, especially when they think they have the upper hand.

It comes from a success story and the hubris of a club that is convinced that it has even earned the right to play in a Super League, always against the biggest teams without qualifying and for theoretical fans, the Real Seeing Madrid win as the beginning and end of the sport.

It also comes from a coach in Zinedine Zidane, whose philosophy is less possession or pressing and more calm, and players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Sergio Ramos and, on Tuesday night, Benzema.

Benzema showed the first signs of recovery eight minutes from his goal. He stole the ball from Antonio Rüdiger on the center line and played two passes, claiming it back each time, then circling in the middle and firing a shot that shaved the outside of the post.

In the stadium it was a trigger, Madrid substitutes got up and Ramos behind them got up too, flapping his hands and shouting, “Come on guys! That’s it! Now a little more! Believe!”

The Chelsea’s were still in charge, but from that moment on, their dominance began to fade. Benzema stormed another counterattack down the right, his punch pass to Toni Kroos on the opposite side which resulted in Kroos winning the corner, causing Benzema to throw his body at the ball and the ball into Chelsea’s net flew .

– ‘Undoubtedly’ Benzema among the best –

“Benzema has taken on the responsibility of reinvigorating the faith of a team that seemed to be creaking, and they largely are, but so often they find something more,” El Pais wrote.

Marca said: “There is no doubt that Benzema belongs to the most distinguished class of footballers.” “He woke the team up,” wrote AS.

When Benzema signed his first professional contract with Lyon, he was given an introductory speech at a team dinner and the cocky 20-year-old annoyed some of the older players by telling them he would soon be taking their place.

Thirteen years later he is the fourth most successful goalscorer in the history of the Champions League, in 71st place with Raul, behind Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski.

If recognition came too late, it is in part because Benzema saved his best to the last, blossoming into a graceful but deadly number nine after many may have decided: Ronaldo’s support act could never do the itself Belong to the very best.

And just as his late equalizer against Atletico Madrid breathed life into Real Madrid in La Liga last month, it was his intervention against Chelsea that now keeps them alive in the Champions League.

“I’m not surprised at Karim,” said Zidane, who had previously replaced him in the 89th minute, a substitution usually intended to give the home crowd a chance to applaud.

Instead, Zidane stepped inside, smiling and whispering, one arm around his shoulder, grasping for another moment and the finale still in sight.

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