Benzema’s performance curve makes France optimistic

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti, who led the Blancos in the 2013/2014 Champions League to the Decima, said eight years ago: “People see Karim Benzema exclusively as a striker. However, he equally brings the qualities of a talented midfielder. And he has all the skills that a complete and fantastic player must have.”

Benzema kicked himself out of national team ahead of EURO 2016

Ancelotti left Real Madrid the following year and returned there in the summer of 2021. A few months after the departure of the meanwhile 62-year-old Italian, Benzema kicked himself out of the French national team. Because: The today 34-year-old offensive player was accused of being involved in the blackmail of a former teammate at the Bleus, Mathieu Valbuena. This in turn led to Benzema no longer being allowed to approach Valbuena. Therefore, both footballers initially didn’t appear for the Bleus any more.

All this happened just before the EURO 2016 in France. There, the French national team, with Didier Deschamps already on the sidelines, lost the final against Portugal after extra time. And as was the case with Benzema, Valbuena was absent from the squad of the then European vice-champions.

Immediately after his comeback, he scored four goals at EURO 2020

Two years later, France celebrated their second World Cup title in Russia. Before that, Valbuena moved to Fenerbahçe for the 2017/2018 season. From then on, the 37-year-old winger, who now plays for Olympiakos Piraeus, ceased to be an option for the Bleus. On the other hand, Deschamps pondered a return of Benzema, but finally the Real Madrid attacker made his comeback for the national team in time for EURO 2020.

Since then, the 34-year-old has made 13 appearances for the Bleus, scoring nine times. Four of those goals arrived at the European Championship. To be precise, Benzema scored a brace in the third group match against Portugal and in the round of sixteen against Switzerland. In the crazy game against the Nati, Real Madrid’s offensive star turned around an early disadvantage. The supposed underdogs then tied the game 3-3 in the closing stages before going on to win on penalties.

The triumph in the UEFA Nations League

France redeemed themselves with a direct ticket to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and a UEFA Nations League triumph in Italy. There in October, Benzema scored in a 3-2 against Belgium and a 2-1 against Spain. He followed that up with a brace in an 8-0 home win over Kazakhstan in the World Cup qualifiers and a relatively late leading goal in a 2-0 away success against Finland.

A storybook season with Real Madrid

Moreover, Benzema, who moved to Real Madrid from Olympique Lyon in July 2009, is having his best season ever for the Blancos. Since Ancelotti’s return, the striker has scored 13 goals in 32 competitive matches. Two of those came in a 3-0 away win over RCD Mallorca on 14 March.

Thus, the captain of the Blancos replaced Thierry Henry as France’s most prolific scorer. Less than a week earlier, the 34-year-old single-handedly lifted his side into the Champions League quarter-finals in Real Madrid’s 3-1 home win over PSG. Because: He recorded a hat-trick. All this indicates that Benzema could become a decisive player at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Alice Kopp

By Alice Kopp

Alice is half Austrian and half Italian. That's why she experienced the 1990 World Cup in Italy at first hand. And that awakened her enthusiasm for football. Since she has loved writing since childhood, Alice began to study journalism while still at school. It was very convenient for her that her class took part in a project of a German daily newspaper. She was also allowed to write for the children's pages of an Austrian daily newspaper and to get a taste of the sports department of the same medium. This is how she received her first press accreditations, which was of course anything but a matter of course for the then 18-year-old. Although she was partly advised against it, Alice decided to study journalism and communication sciences. After a few years, she decided to use the exams she had taken as an elective. Nevertheless, she applies the knowledge she has acquired in her further professional life. The same applies to her language skills. In addition to her mother tongues German and Italian, Alice is also proficient in English and Spanish. She also understands French and can use this language in research. During her studies, Alice was involved in an Austrian football club. At the same time, she wrote for a total of three Austrian portals and worked as an Austria correspondent for an Italian-language online medium. This collaboration started during Giovanni Trapattoni's era at Red Bull Salzburg and continued during EURO 2008. This gave her the opportunity to interact with Trapattoni as well as with Italian journalists. From the following year, Alice initially worked with a Swiss portal before discovering sports betting content for herself. On the one hand, this kept her in sports journalism, and on the other, it broadened her horizons. And that both in the context of the sports betting industry and with other sports as well as countries. In the field of sports journalism, she focused in particular on football from around the world, volleyball and beach volleyball. In addition, she naturally wrote several guides, bookmaker profiles, bonus articles and other content for betting enthusiasts. She did this for the same company for about ten years, writing articles in German and Italian. She also built the Italian-language website together with the managing director. Meanwhile, Alice started working with another Austrian football club. Furthermore, she joined the Association Internationale de la Presse Sportive (AIPS) in 2016. This gives her the opportunity to watch teams and athletes on the ground relatively often. Not only sports betting, but also radio In January 2019, the next step in her professional development followed. For: she started creating premium content on the topic of sports betting. In the process, she finally put out feelers to almost all countries and all continents. And this was not least due to the fact that both German and English-speaking users subscribed to her content. Nevertheless, Alice continued to use her knowledge of Italian, among other things. On the one hand, because she regularly exchanges ideas with Italian colleagues, and on the other, because she works with a web radio station. The Corona crisis had a strong impact on the sports world and on interest in sports betting, primarily in the early days. Therefore, a fresh start was necessary and, on balance, Alice found the fields of activity that suited her best. She also writes articles for an agency on almost all disciplines as well as on eSports and content for a German online medium. Alice is half Austrian and half Italian. That's why she experienced the 1990 World Cup in Italy at first hand. And that awakened her enthusiasm for football.