Karim Benzema was born in Lyon, France on 19 December 1987 to a working class family originally from northern Algeria; roots that defined his mature yet simple character. The early days of his life as a footballer began at the age of 9 with Olympique Lyonnais, a club he had never left until signing for Real Madrid. He was one of the youth system’s most outstanding players and scored 38 goals in one season with the Under-16 side followed by the UEFA European Under-17 title with France in 2004. He debuted with Lyon’s first team on 15 January 2005 against Metz. Although he did not score, he did provide an assist to Bryan Bergougnoux, who scored the winning goal. Despite the fact that Benzema had been crowned champion of Europe, club staff didn’t want to rush the player’s development and only played him in six matches that season. He did however go on to score 12 goals in 14 matches with France’s Under-18 side.
The following year he played in 13 matches, scored one goal and made his Champions League debut against Rosenborg. He played in 21 matches and scored five goals in 2006/07, but Benzema really exploded onto the scene in 2007/08. Lyon won the Ligue 1 title for the seventh straight year as well as the Coupe de France. It was also the year he debuted with the French national team. On 28 March 2007 Benzema suited up for Les Bleus against Austria and scored his first international goal. The major thorn in his side was the 2008 Euro after France fell in the opening round. This season was especially bittersweet for the striker. His coach kept him on a relatively tight leash, allowing Benzema to score just 17 goals in 36 matches. Despite being eliminated by Barcelona in the Last 16 of the Champions League, Benzema did manage to score five goals in Europe’s top competition.
Benzema’s football is based on tremendous strength, his wicked moves, unlimited ball skills and a superb strike. The Madridista striker is intelligent and dominates every facet of what his position demands. He is an animal inside the box when his team needs him and he is the perfect man to initiate a counter-attack when his teammates feel pressured.
- Place of Birth: Lyon, France
- Date of Birth: 12/19/1987
- Position: Forward
- Weight: 83.5 kg
- Height: 184.1 cm
- Nationality: French
- La Liga (Spanish League). 2011/12
- Copa del Rey (Spanish Cup): 2010/11
- Spanish Super Cup: 2012
- Ligue 1: 2004/05, 2005/06, 2006/07, 2007/08
- Coupe de France: 2008
- Trophée de Champions: 2005, 2006, 2007