News From Spain: Five things you may not know about Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema

Few players in European football can match the longevity and long-term quality that the Frenchman has shown since joining Real Madrid back in 2009, but there’s still a lot you may not know about the LaLiga Santander star.

He scored the fastest goal in ElClasico history

Karim Benzema took just 22 seconds to score in a LaLiga Santander match between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona in December 2011, making him the fastest-ever goalscorer in the history of the greatest game in club football. Since 2009 he’s scored 11 times against his side’s biggest rivals, ranking him fourth on the active goal scorers ranking behind Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Suárez. 

He’s one of the four all-time top Champions League goal scorers

Benzema’s name may not be the first that comes to mind when thinking of the all-time top scorers in the Champions League, but the Frenchman has a very impressive 86 goals to his name from 141 appearances in the competition. He scored 12 for his first club, Lyon, before adding 74 for Real Madrid since 2009. Benzema currently sits fourth in the all-time standings, after breaking Raúl González’ mark on September 2021, and only behind LaLiga greats Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, and with the same number of goals as Robert Lewandowski.

He could have played for Algeria

Born in France but of Algerian descent, Benzema could have played for the Algerian national team. In fact, the Algerian football federation is known to have tried to convince him when he was making a name for himself. He chose France and has 94 caps for Les Bleus, after returning in June 2021 after almost six years out of the national team. 

A film was made about his life

‘Le K Benzema’ was released in 2017 and charted his rise through the ranks at Lyon and to global stardom at Real Madrid, featuring interviews with his parents, friends and teammates. The film also opened up on his friendship with French rapper Booba and his close relationship with coach Zinedine Zidane. 

He has eight siblings, some of which are also footballers

Benzema comes from a big family. In total, he has eight siblings – three brothers and five sisters. The Real Madrid star is the third youngest of the family, while his two younger brothers – Gressy and Sabri – have also made a career for themselves in football, although not quite at the same heights as Karim.

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