Ballon d’Or 2022: Benzema, the boy from Bron who dreamed of being Ronaldo

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An award that recognizes an unforgettable season, the highest scorer of his career with 44 goals and 17 assists in 46 games
Karim Benzema (December 19, 1987, Lyon) consecrates his career at the age of 34 with his first Ballon d’Or, making the dream of a boy raised in the troubled neighborhood of Bron come true as the undisputed leader of Real Madrid and a benchmark for the French team. , who football kept away from problems and fueled the desire to become like one of his great idols, Ronaldo Nazario.

For Benzema, of Algerian origin from his grandfather’s life in Tighzert before emigrating to France, his father Hafid’s rigid upbringing and his mother Wahida’s dedication to their eight children led him down the right path growing up in the modest suburbs of Lyon.

A Catholic school was Karim’s father’s decision to keep him off the streets and get the best education from him. Without thinking that his origins and the weight of more than he had caused discrimination at school, a rejection that invited him to fight from his first steps.

It was soon seen that his passion was the ball. With her, the introverted boy always stood out above the rest. He without a clock to play in the fields attached to his house in the Terraillon neighborhood, as if to improve only with the ball and a wall on his block. He promoted a change in eating habits and started a path from one of the most humble areas of Lyon.

Between the admiration for Zinedine Zidane as a great reference for the French team and Ronaldo Nazario, the striker he always wanted to resemble, Karim began playing at the age of eight in the Bron Terraillon youth team, where his life changed for a double scored against Olympique of Lyons. Months later he was already part of the quarry of one of the leading clubs in the country that made an exception to welcome him in its training center, reserved for children from other regions.

Interned in the training center, the young Karim moved away from the bad company in his neighborhood and climbed the steps at high speed. At the age of 16 he made the leap to the second team with the fame of top scorer in each category in which he was formed. He soon began training with the ‘elders’, making his first-team debut in 2005 under manager Paul Le Guen.

“Since I was a child, Ronaldo has been my reference, my source of inspiration. I have many tapes with his matches and I don’t leave one with his best plays. By dint of seeing him I am impregnated with some of his gestures”, confessed Karim in his first steps in the elite when he dreamed of emulating the Brazilian two-time Ballon d’Or winner.

After two initial years of growth without continuity, it was with Alain Perrin that the season of the definitive impulse of a new star of French football arrived. With 31 goals in 51 games, top scorer in the League, key piece for the first double in the history of Lyon. A different footballer began to attract the attention of the greats of Europe and continued to live in the humble neighborhood of Bron.

Renewed his contract and improved financially on several occasions, he endured another year in Lyon. Karim had already been named player of the year by the French League and had been nominated for the Ballon d’Or for the first time at a time when the dominance of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi was overwhelming.

Real Madrid was determined to launch itself for a new pearl of European football and the negotiation was carried out in the first person by the president himself. Florentino Pérez appeared in Bron, at his parents’ house to obtain the word of a player with whom he has always had a special relationship ever since.

“My family, my agents and my friends called me to tell me that I had to go home. I told them I couldn’t and they insisted, you have to come, Florentino Pérez is here. When I arrived, I opened the door and saw him with my family He told me, do I have your word? And I said, yes, yes.” Benzema became a new Real Madrid player for 35 million euros, to extend the legend of success of the king of Europe.

From being misunderstood for being a 9 with fewer goals than the classic center forwards in the history of the white club, to a great benchmark scorer since the unexpected goodbye of Cristiano Ronaldo. The Frenchman’s long road of thirteen years for Real Madrid has gone through numerous phases but he has always been allied to high school football. The player who makes the rest shine. He scores with both feet and with a great header. He partners with everyone by making the difficult easy in the final meters.

Overcome cases of rebellion that affected his career at times. Less important than being involved in accidents or penalties for speeding with the car, he was involved in two sexual controversies, the first with his teammate Frank Ribéry and the second that caused his departure from the French calls for alleged blackmailing Mathieu Valbuena for a video.

Second player with the most titles in the history of Real Madrid, 24, threatening the achievement of the Brazilian Marcelo (25), with 5 European Cups, 4 Leagues, 4 Club World Cups, 4 European Super Cups, 2 King’s Cups, 4 Super Cups of Spain and a League of Nations with France to which he returned to pay off debts from the past.

Real Madrid’s French forward Karim Benzema (L) receives the Ballon d’Or award from French former forward football player Zinedine Zidane during the 2022 Ballon d’Or France Football award ceremony at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris on October 17, 2022. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP)

Second top scorer for the white club with 328 goals after beating legends like Raúl and Di Stéfano, just behind Cristiano Ronaldo. Seventh with the most games, 615, on the hunt for Raúl’s 741.

A Ballon d’Or that rewards an unforgettable season, the highest scorer of his career with 44 goals and 17 assists in 46 games. Top scorer in the Champions League (15 goals) and LaLiga Santander (27 goals) conquered, with stellar performances in comebacks that fuel the Madridista legend. Ten goals in the knockout rounds to topple favorites like PSG, Chelsea and Manchester City. Chosen the best player in the competition that gave Real Madrid the ‘Fourteenth’.

“The striker has to know how to do a lot of things, not just score goals. I can score a goal, but if I don’t touch the ball in ninety minutes, that’s a problem.” It is the way of understanding football in the mouth of Benzema. A magical soccer player who receives a well-deserved tribute in the final phase of his career, when he defies the passing of time by exhibiting the best version of himself.