Karim Benzema had a stellar 2021-22 campaign, leading Real Madrid to both La Liga and the UEFA Champions League. The Frenchman was in a league of his own in front of the goal throughout the season and is a strong contender for the 2022 Ballon’d’Or.
Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti certainly got the best out of the 34-year-old attacker. The French striker played a massive role in the league triumph, contributing to 48.75% of Madrid’s 80 league goals. He was also prolific in the UCL as Los Blancos notched up one come-from-behind success after the other.
Karim Benzema was at his goal-scoring best
Not many players have been as consistent in front of the goal as Benzema in the last decade. In fact, the demise of the famed BBC (Bale-Benzema-Cristiano) triumvirate only resulted in the Frenchman blossoming into an even better player.
Not surprisingly, he also broke a number of records in the 2021-22 campaign. Let us take a look at the top records set by Benzema last season.
5 Oldest player to score a Champions League hat-trick
It was the round of 16 of the 2021-22 Champions League. Real Madrid were up against Paris Saint-Germain. After a 1-0 loss in the away leg, Los Blancos had a daunting task in the second leg.
Karim Benzema stepped up to the occasion perfectly to ensure a 3-1 win at the Santiago Bernabeu. Interestingly, all three goals were scored by the Frenchman in the second half after Madrid went into the break 1-0 down courtesy a fine Kylian Mbappe strike.
By doing so, Benzema not only helped Madrid qualify for the quarter-finals but also became the oldest player to score a Champions League hat-trick. At 34 years and 80 days, the Real Madrid striker surpassed the record previously held by Olivier Giroud, who scored a triple at the age of 34 years and 63 days.
4 First French player to win the Golden Boot in the Champions League era
Real Madrid’s Champions League journey was an entertaining one full of twists and dramatic comebacks.
Benzema played a critical role in their amazing run as he, more often than not, Madrid striker scored 15 goals in the Champions League last season, becoming the first-ever French player to win the Golden Boot. Ever since the European Cup was named the Champions League in 1992, no player of French origin has won the Golden Boot in the competition.
3 Most goals scored against English teams in a Champions League campaign
The Frenchman scored seven goals in total against Chelsea and Manchester City in the 2021-22 Champions League.
This helped the Real Madrid superstar record the most goals scored by a footballer against English teams in a Champions League campaign. He scored four times against Chelsea, which not only saw him score a hat-trick but also become the first player to score a European hat-trick against the Blues.
His performance against Manchester City wasn’t bad either as he scored thrice over two legs. It wass a stellar achievement for the 2021-22 Champions League Player of the Season to score against two of the Premier League’s top teams.
2 First French player to win the Pichichi Trophy
From the 2009-10 to the 2020-21 season, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo were the dominant forces in La Liga. For that duration, both the GOATs of football were ruthless in front of goal.
One of Messi or Ronaldo ended up winning the Spanish Golden Boot, aka the Pichichi Trophy, eleven times in those twelve seasons. Benzema was unlucky not to have won the trophy despite performing amazingly well.
Eventually, last season, the Frenchman performed to his best and ended up scoring 27 goals in 32 La Liga games. With that, the former Lyon striker became the first ever French player to win the Pichichi trophy.
1.Most decorated French player of all time
It’s been 13 seasons since Karim Benzema joined Real Madrid from Lyon. It has truly been a delight to watch him hold up the ball, link up with his teammates and score classic goals and evolve into one of the best strikers of his generation.
The French superstar has won plenty of silverware whilst playing for top clubs and the French national team.
Benzema is the first ever French player to win the Champions League five times. In his club career, he has won La Liga and Ligue 1 four times.
He won the 2020-21 UEFA Nations League with France and will be a massive player for his country in the 2022 FIFA World Cup. With 30 trophies to his name, Benzema is the most decorated French player of all time.