Karim Benzema, sacred in Madrid, lost to France

Karim Benzema, on July 16, during Real Madrid's victory against Villareal, at the end of which the Madrid club conquered the title of champion of Spain.

Tit would be easier if we could only talk about Karim Benzema as a footballer, and as a footballer of his only two clubs – Olympique Lyonnais who trained him, Real Madrid who consecrated him and whose he was the key man for the 2019-2020 national title at the end of his eleventh season.

The portrait would be as clear as the technique of this elegant and intelligent striker, the only member of the famous “1987 generation” who will have justified the hopes raised, and whose longevity at the highest level, within a great team, has earned him definitive recognition and an exceptional track record.

The art of lasting

It takes relational intelligence to both merge into this workforce and last in this locker room with bigger stars than him – unlike Thierry Henry at Arsenal – and become, even late, an icon.

Launched in Madrid at the age of twenty-one, criticized for his healthy lifestyle, rebuked by José Mourinho, Benzema disciplined himself, refined his game: more regular than exceptional scorer (one goal every two games on average with Real ), he put the wide range of his qualities – and his regular touches of genius – at the service of the White House.

Its regularity over time has made it forget the criticisms suffered at its most depressed moments, and its two exceptional years after the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo underline the ingratitude of the mission of the lieutenants in the galactic legion. The light, this time, is for him.

Even before being amputated, his sports record in the France team was more mixed. Two dull European Championships (2008 and 2012), a crucial contribution to France-Ukraine 2013, a beautiful 2014 World Cup of which he could not be the providential man: in 81 selections (27 goals), the Madrilenian is stayed between two waters.

Ideal culprit

If he paid for the Blues slump post-2006, he also paid the price for identity delirium which transformed selection into an outlet for our national pathologies. In the original trial conducted for non-exemplarity against internationals “from an immigrant background”, Benzema was an ideal culprit.

His distrust of the media, his apparent arrogance, his desire to communicate with his own codes had immediately cost him a penalty. He was criticized for not singing the national anthem and indefinitely coming out of the remarks made at eighteen on his choice between the French and Algerian selections.

A few rabid people even lent the worst intentions to … an unfortunate spit after a Marseillaise played at Santiago-Bernabeu in tribute to the victims of the November 2015 attacks.

He himself delivered ammunition to his critics by feeding the chronicle of the various facts. Involved in the “Zahia affair” in 2010 (he will be released), he never broke with a bulky entourage – several of his relatives were indicted in 2018 for “attempted kidnapping and extortion”.

Above all, his intervention at least ambiguous – the prosecution recently asked for his referral to the criminal court – in the blackmail attempt against Mathieu Valbuena sealed his fate with the selection and in the opinion.

No longer a question of justice

Those who have since asked for his recall in blue see neither the moral problem beyond the judicial question, nor the untenable situation which would have resulted from it. It was no longer a question of sports justice – even less for a selection that knew how to do without him. Benzema: sacred in Madrid, lost to France.

It has certainly continued to serve as an outlet, the case galvanizing the imprecateurs and prompting the untimely intervention of Prime Minister Manuel Valls, in December 2015.

Enough to support the defense of “KB9” (soon provided by Eric Dupont-Moretti) and the thesis of the “political” nature of his banishment. Not enough to accuse Didier Deschamps and the president of the French Football Federation (FFF), Noël Le Graët, for a long time his best supporters, of having “yielded to a racist part of France”.

On social networks, by “liking” messages offensive to the coach or by endorsing the inept rivalry staged between him and Olivier Giroud, he froze his position: flatter his base of supporters, pose as a victim, suggest a plot , not taking responsibility …

To take more hits than he deserved, Benzema thus ended up endorsing his own “deprivation of sporting nationality”, to the point of affirming, in November 2019, that he was considering playing for another selection – this that the regulations don’t allow. Divorce was long overdue, with shared wrongs.


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