Real Madrid don’t look like a Champions League team without Karim Benzema

Real Madrid, Karim Benzema (Photo by Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Karim Benzema (Photo by Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images) /

Karim Benzema has been Real Madrid’s leading man for quite a while now, but are Los Blancos a much different side without their star forward?

Real Madrid’s run in the UEFA Champions League has been nothing short of breathtaking this season. From the thrilling comebacks to the brilliance of star talisman Karim Benzema, should Los Blancos clinch the coveted trophy against Liverpool in the tournament’s final later this month, it would undoubtedly go down as one of the most remarkable Champions League runs in history.

The Spanish champions have demonstrated fighting spirit, team continuity, and exceptional fitness levels throughout the competition; however, it has to be said that Real Madrid’s magical run simply wouldn’t turn out the way it has without the presence of Benzema.

There’s no denying that Benzema is a special player, and ever since the Frenchman has taken the reigns as Madrid’s leading man since Cristiano Ronaldo left in 2018, he has been irreplaceable. Los Blancos have been ever-so reliant on Benzema, but maybe that over-reliance could be overshadowing them as an elite-level Champions League club.

Karim Benzema is the world’s most unique striker

That’s certainly not to say that the presence of one player makes the club, as Real Madrid have plenty of superstars, such as Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Thibaut Courtois, David Alaba, and many more but Benzema eclipses his compatriots in terms of importance to the team.

So far, Benzema has 44 goals and 14 assists in all competitions this season. This season, he has displayed his best performances in the Champions League, scoring 15 goals, with ten coming in the knockout stages. His performances in the competition are the core reason he is on the front podium to capture the Ballon d’Or at the end of the season.

While the numbers tell the tale, Benzema’s contribution to Real Madrid goes beyond just numbers. The vast difference between a Real Madrid side with Benzema and without Benzema is quite noticeable, especially when it comes to Madrid’s team structure.

Some notable examples of matches where Real Madrid were left without Benzema this season were the humiliating 4-0 home defeat in the Clasico against Barcelona and the recent 1-0 defeat to city rivals Atletico Madrid.

While the result against Barcelona can be considered as a “one-off” or a “fluke” by many, it showed how much of a void Benzema’s absence in the squad left. Likewise, Real Madrid’s recent loss to Atletico Madrid was not considered a match that carried any significance for the champions, but it was just one of the matches that highlighted how Madrid’s structure suffers without the Frenchman.

Benzema can be considered “a jack of all trades” as he adds a plethora of value to Real Madrid and possesses numerous qualities which make him an immense asset. His leadership quality, ability to drop deep and orchestrate play, and positioning are some subtle traits that don’t often go noticed but add a massive edge to Los Blancos’ side.

Benzema is unlike any other striker in world football today. His role is quite unique as he serves as a sort of hybrid striker in Real Madrid’s game plan. His role in operating between the lines to serve as an outlet for all of Madrid’s attacking sequences is vital. Everything starts and finishes with Benzema.

This certainly is not the case when we see the likes of Mariano Diaz or Luka Jovic in the lineup. Instead, Real Madrid’s approach completely changes to the point where they use the ‘cross and pray’ approach where Jovic or Mariano would attempt to attack the box and get on the end of a cross from the flank.

Instead, without Benzema, the claim can be made that they do not look like a side worthy of contention in the Champions League. It’s clear to see that the Frenchman’s importance to Real Madrid is unparalleled, and he is one of those players that not only improves every passing moment but also enhances the quality of his teammates around him. To have that quality as a player is immense, and it certainly makes Benzema one of a kind.

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Real Madrid have gotten this far into the Champions League, and Benzema is undoubtedly at the spearhead of Los Blancos’ success this season. Seriously, Madridistas would not be able to imagine how their side would cope without the striker. Benzema is a remarkable specimen, and it’s clear that Real Madrid’s caliber improves ten-fold when the Frenchman is playing.