Karim Benzema has bid farewell to Real Madrid after an astounding 14-year journey, departing as their most decorated player with 25 trophies.

Karim Benzema joined Real Madrid as a young prospect and is now parting ways as the one of greatest to have donned the white of Los Blancos. The 35-year-old has decided to end his reign at the Santiago Bernabeu after 14 long years.

Benzema won the prestigious Ballon d’Or in October on the back of a heroic 2021/22 season and is now set to leave the club that he did it with. Just months after being crowned the best in the world, the Frenchman has decided that it is time for a new challenge.

His decision to leave Real Madrid came as a shock to one and all. While there were rumours of him joining a Saudi club, the French forward had shut it down during a media interaction. However, the suggestions turned out to be true as the Spanish giants released an official statement regarding his departure on Sunday, just hours prior to what was his last game for the team in white.

Benzema did manage to sign off in style as he bagged a goal from the spot in the 72nd minute when his team was 1-0 down. While it ended in a 1-1 draw, Real Madrid fans did get to see one of their finest players find the back of the net one final time.

Real Madrid are amongst the biggest clubs in world football, and they will surely manage to rescue themselves with multiple signings. But, until then, let’s focus on the legacy that Benzema leaves behind and the things that he achieved throughout his journey at Los Blancos.

A Thriving Journey in Madrid

Benzema joined Real Madrid back in 2009 as 21 year old. While he did have the potential to be a great forward, the Frenchman surpassed all expectations and become a leader, a champion and one of the greatest forwards in the history of the club as well as world football.

He was a part of the club for 14 long years and during his time, the 35-year-old won 25 titles. He leaves the club as the most decorated player in their history. Benzema won 5 Champions League, 5 Club World Cups, 4 European Super Cups, 4 La Liga titles, 3 King’s Cups and 4 Spanish Super Cups.

As far as individual honours are concerned, the former French international is the holder of the Ballon d’Or and the UEFA Player of the Year. He also won the Pichichi Trophy in 2022. Benzema was the tournament’s top scorer as Real Madrid lifted their 14th UCL title last year, he found the back of the net 15 times guiding them to yet another historic win.

Overall, the 35-year-old scored 354 goals in his 14 years at the club and is the second-highest goal scorer in their history only behind Cristiano Ronaldo. The Real Madrid skipper has had quite a journey, from a young prospect to a phenomenon who led from the front.

Glue that formed the deadliest trio: ‘BBC’

The legendary trifecta. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

When Real Madrid secured the signing of Gareth Bale from Tottenham Hotspur in 2013, they not only added a formidable attacking talent to their ranks but also laid the foundation for what would become one of the most fearsome trios in football history. Joining forces with Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema, Bale formed the trio fondly known as ‘BBC.’

While Ronaldo and Bale often commanded the headlines with their breathtaking goals and electrifying pace, it was Benzema who played a crucial role as the glue holding the trio together. As the striker, the Frenchman displayed remarkable versatility and selflessness on the pitch, dropping back to support the midfield and acting as a facilitator for his dynamic partners.

Benzema’s ability to link up with Bale and Ronaldo was truly exceptional. His vision, intelligent movement, and precise passing allowed him to create space for his teammates and supply them with the opportunities they needed to flourish. While Ronaldo and Bale thrived in the spotlight, Benzema’s unselfish contributions enabled them to shine brightly.

Beyond the statistics and individual accolades, it was the collective success that truly defined the ‘BBC’ trio. Over the course of their five-year partnership, they propelled Real Madrid to incredible heights, winning four UEFA Champions League titles and one La Liga trophy.

Their combined goal tally during that period was a testament to their devastating potency: Benzema netted 100 times, Ronaldo scored a staggering 240 goals, and Bale added 84 goals to the tally.

Taking Matters into His Own Hands: Post-Ronaldo Era

Karim Benzema might have lived in the shadows of Cristiano Ronaldo for years. But the Frenchman did stand up when it mattered the most. With the departure of Ronaldo in the summer of 2018, the burden of leading Real Madrid’s attack fell squarely on the shoulders of Karim Benzema.

The 35-year-old rose to the occasion, showing his growth as a player and his ability to take matters into his own hands. Benzema’s goalscoring prowess after Ronaldo’s departure is a testament to his impact. Season after season, he consistently found the back of the net, shouldering the goal-scoring burden and leading by example.

His goal tally, which increased steadily over the years, showcased his remarkable consistency and ability to deliver when it mattered most. The French forward has scored 162 goals in the last five seasons post the departure of Madrid’s number 7 while he had only scored 84 goals in the previous five while playing alongside CR7.

The pinnacle of Benzema’s leadership came in the 2021/2022 season when he guided Real Madrid to a UEFA Champions League triumph. Leading from the front, the 35-year-old striker displayed an unwavering hunger for success, scoring an impressive 15 goals throughout the campaign. With each goal, he not only showcased his individual brilliance but also inspired his teammates, driving them towards glory and reaffirming his status as the team’s focal point.

The Ultimate Achievement: Ballon d’Or and Beyond

Benzema’s journey reached its pinnacle when he was crowned with the prestigious Ballon d’Or in 2022. His relentless drive, exceptional goal-scoring ability, and leadership qualities propelled him to this ultimate individual honour.

The 35-year-old Frenchman’s performances throughout the 2021/22 season were truly remarkable, with a staggering tally of 44 goals and 15 assists, highlighting his impact on the pitch.

Not only did Benzema excel in domestic competitions, but he also showcased his prowess on the grand stage of the UEFA Champions League. With 15 goals in the tournament, he spearheaded Real Madrid’s triumphant campaign, leading the team to lift the coveted trophy.

Benzema’s success extended beyond individual awards and club triumphs. His remarkable goal tally of 27 in La Liga further solidified his influence and helped secure the league title for Real Madrid.

Winning the Ballon d’Or was the ultimate recognition of the Frenchman’s exceptional talent and relentless pursuit of excellence. It was the culmination of years of hard work, dedication, and a journey of learning and growth.

As he basked in the glory of this remarkable achievement, Benzema’s legacy as one of the game’s finest strikers was cemented, with his name forever etched among the footballing elite. And, he became the first French player to win the Ballon d’Or since Zidane did it back in 1998.

Farewell to a Legendary Journey: Benzema Bids Adieu to Real Madrid

As Karim Benzema prepares to leave Real Madrid after an illustrious 14-year tenure in the Spanish capital, the club is left grappling with the daunting task of filling the void left by the departure of a true legend.

Replacing a player of Benzema’s calibre is a monumental challenge. Finding someone who possesses not only his skill and finesse but also his intangible qualities will be a formidable task for Real Madrid’s management.

The void he leaves behind is not just about numbers, but about the irreplaceable aura and impact he had on the club’s identity. As Benzema bids adieu to Real Madrid, his departure marks the end of an era, a legendary journey that will forever be etched in the annals of the club’s history.

The challenge for Los Blancos now lies in honouring his legacy while embarking on a new chapter, finding a way to forge ahead without one of their most influential figures. The task is daunting, but the memories and impact the Frenchman leaves behind will serve as a source of inspiration for the future, ensuring that his legacy lives on within the hearts of the Real Madrid faithful.

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