He can surpass Raúl’s 323 goals, lift his first title as captain and equal Gento in titles with Real Madrid
Karim Benzema has turned his present into a continuous challenge to break historical records at Real Madrid. At the best moment of his sports career, with the 2022 Ballon d’Or under lock and key and a collection of works of art that have made the Karim room one of the best in today’s football museum, the Real Madrid captain leads the expedition that travel to Helsinki. There, in the historic Olympic stadium, Madrid will seek their fifth European Super Cup. Benzema can be placed with four in his record, the same as the two most successful players in this tournament (Dani Alves and Paolo Maldini). On that same step are placed Dani Carvajal, Modric and Toni Kroos, the German with one with the Bayern shirt.
But the event in the Finnish capital presents more challenges for Benzema on a personal level. Karim’s motto has always been that the only thing that really matters is the team, the successes of the team, but with so much time in Madrid, since 2009, the cataract of collective successes has made Benzema an indispensable figure for understanding the history of Real Madrid.
In Helsinki, Karim has the first opportunity to leave behind the figure of Raúl as the second top scorer in the club’s history. Big words. He was able to do it in the Champions League final, but the goal he scored was annulled in a convoluted play that did not make it very clear that the decision was correct. That means that against Eintracht, a rival he has never faced, he once again has the opportunity to surpass the 323 goals he shares with Raúl and see Cristiano and his historic 451 just ahead of him.
Of those 323 goals, Benzema has scored 131 in the four seasons since CR7’s goodbye, 33 on average. It’s science fiction, but with that average since he arrived at the club, summer 2009, his figure would skyrocket to 426.
In that powerful collection of goals with the Real Madrid shirt, only one came in the European Super Cup. It was the one in which he lost, in 2018, when he scored 1-1 against Atlético in Tallinn in a game that ended 2-4 for Simeone’s men. But if he scores two goals in Helsinki, something that in Europe last season was almost normal, he will enter the club of the top scorers in the history of the competition. Sitting at that table are Blokhin (Dynamo kyiv), Fairclough (Liverpool), Radamel Falcao (Atlético de Madrid), Arie Haan (Ajax and Anderlecht), Terry McDermott (Liverpool), Messi (Barcelona), Gerd Müller (Bayern), Rensenbrink (Anderlecht) and Van der Elst (Anderlecht).
Go for Gento… and Marcelo
Benzema has long been part of the Real Madrid legend. But in the season that officially starts in Helsinki, he has before him the possibility of becoming the player in the history of the club with the most titles. Six possibilities appear before him this season for Marcelo’s reign to be ephemeral. The Brazilian has left the club this summer with 25 titles. Gone were Gento’s 23, a record that lasted from May 21, 1971 until Madrid won the last League on April 30.
Benzema can catch up with Gento on Wednesday. In his record he already has 22 trophies with the Real Madrid shirt. The first he won was the 2011 Cup, the one with Cristiano’s goal at Mestalla against Barcelona in extra time and when no one would have played a euro because today Karim was what he is in white history. With 23 he would equal Gento and enter the DRS zone to reach or surpass Marcelo already this season with five bullets in the chamber.
Another special moment that Benzema can experience in Helsinki is receiving the trophy from the UEFA president, Alexander Ceferin. Because after Marcelo’s departure, Benzema is the first captain of Real Madrid and it will be up to him to receive the fifth Super Cup in the club’s history if Ancelotti’s men prevail over the Frankfurt eagles. Until now, that honor has been held by Fernando Hierro (2002), Casillas (2014) and Sergio Ramos (2016 and 2017).
With that three in one, Benzema appears in the final of the European Super Cup. His staging this preseason has already left two goals, one of them a work of art against America in San Francisco. The question that hangs in the air is whether Karim will be able to maintain his level in a season in which his passport will be 35 years old the day after the World Cup final that awaits him as a star. Seeing his performance curve in recent seasons, it would be very daring to bet against Benzema.