Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema has found playing time to be few and far between during his season plus in Spain. So when he finally got some much-desired pitch time during Madridâ€™s 3-0 win over Espanyol over the weekend, he made sure to do what he could to impress the home crowd at the Bernabeu. Benzemaâ€™s limited shift came towards the end of the match, and it took only eight minutes for him to find the back of the net to place the third and final nail in Espanyolâ€™s coffin. And this was the French-Algerianâ€™s first goal of the young season.
Many have speculated that Benzema is especially frustrated with his limited playing time and is contemplating a move elsewhere. Manchester United and Liverpool, among other teams, have reportedly coveted his services. But Benzema has been steadfast in his loyalty to Real Madrid. And he has said nothing but positive things about his squad and about his new manager, Jose Mourinho.
â€œItâ€™s important to use the minutes that the coach gives me, whether it be 15 or 20. I received a good chance to score from Lass [Diarra]. Itâ€™s good reason to be happy,â€ he was quoted as saying afterward by Marca. â€œHeâ€™s a great coach and I appreciate his confidence. I try to take advantage of all situations I have to score goals. It has taken a lot but we won and that allows us to be up in the league standings.â€
Benzema originally came through the youth academy at Lyon in Franceâ€™s Ligue 1. He ultimately became the top goal-scorer in Ligue 1 in the 2007â€“08 season with Lyon. He ultimately became too big for Ligue 1, and was transferred to the Spanish giants Real Madrid in July of 2009 for a transfer fee of 35 million euros, with incentives pushing the total potentially as high as 41 million euros. Benzema subsequently signed a six year contract.
He has been capped at the senior level for the French National Team, and he played for them in the UEFA Euro 2008. It was there, however, that he was part of a core of young French players that were at the center of some team infighting. And it was this infighting that ultimately kept Benzema and fellow Muslim Samir Nasri off of the French World Cup team this past summer. The disappointment of this exclusion, combined with his failure to crack the starting lineup for Real Madrid, has been a monkey on Benzemaâ€™s back. But, inshallah, perseverance will ultimately bring him both professional and national success.