Cover Karim Benzema holding up his Ballon d'Or award at Theatre Du Chatelet In Paris on October 17, 2022 (Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)

Here's what you should know about one of the best strikers of all time

On October 17, Karim Benzema was crowned winner of the prestigious Ballon d'Or in Paris. With his unique playing style, goal record, and quick thinking on the pitch, Benzema is considered to be one of the best footballers of his generation.

Earlier this year, he received the UEFA Men's Player of the Year Award for his formidable performance in the 2021-22 UEFA Champions League, which he won with his current club Real Madrid CF. He was also named La Liga Player of the Season 2021-22. After having been nominated nine times since 2009, Benzema, who is in his best form yet, finally won one of the highest honours in the football world. 

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1. A formidable career

With 615 appearances and 328 goals to date, Benzema's club career with Real Madrid CF is nothing short of impressive. Benzema has been part of the La Liga club since 2009 and last season, was made captain of the squad. 

He holds the record for the fastest goal in El Clasico history, netting a goal against FC Barcelona just 21 seconds after kick-off in 2021. At 34 years and 108 days, he is also the oldest player to score a hat-trick in the Champions League in a match against Chelsea in the 2021-22 season. 

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2. He was eligible to play for the Algeria national football team

Though he plays for France's national football team now, Benzema was also eligible to play for the Algeria national football team. Born in Lyon to Algerian parents, Hafid Benzema and Wahida Djebbara, who both hold French nationalities, Benzema eventually chose to represent France.

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3. He is the third youngest in a family of eight

With five sisters and two brothers, Benzema was raised in a crowded home. Two of his brothers, Gressy and Sabri, are also footballers. 

He is married to Cora Gauthie, with whom he has a child, son Ibrahim who is 5. He also has an older daughter, Melia, 8, from a previous relationship. 

 

 

4. He is the face of a number of global brands

Benzema is the ambassador for a number of globally renowned brands including game publisher Electronic Arts, better known as EA, for its FIFA series, Korean car manufacturer Hyundai, and sports betting company, bwin.

He recently became the face of Fendi Faster sneakers, the luxury brand's elevated take on the classic running shoes. He also collaborated with Jean Paul Gaultier on an eyewear line.

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5. A movie was released about his life

Benzema joins the ranks of football icons such Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, and Pelé who had movies made about their life stories. Titled Le K Benzema, the movie was released in 2017 and directed by French director Damien Piscarel. The biopic follows the ups and downs of Benzema's career including his removal from the Real Madrid CF roster and the France national football team for a period of time after a sex tape scandal and other legal controversies.  

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