El Clasico 2022: The Benzema factor

The next instalment of the El Clasico is here with us; Real Madrid will play host to Barcelona in one of the most defining games in the Spanish top flight. The two giants face off with a lot at stake, top of which will be the chance to impact the league title race. However, one factor that remains constant going into this game is the impact of Karim Benzema, the Real Madrid forward and skipper.

Looking back over the years, the quality of this big game has drastically gone down. For the first time in over a decade of the El Clasico, this game will miss at least one of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Sergio Ramos. The color of the biggest game in Spain is clearly fading away and it will take faces like Benzema’s to keep it alive.

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After the withdrawal of some of the top stars from La Liga, Benzema can work well as the poster boy not just for this game but the league. In Benzema’s current form we can back him to get the most focus here, unlike in the earlier seasons where it was about Ronaldo and Messi.

The Frenchman has done well ahead of this game and also in previous matches against Barcelona and we don’t expect the pressure that comes with this game to be too hard for him to handle. Benzema holds the record for the fastest goal in El Clasico in the 21st century. In the 2011/12 season, he scored after just 21 seconds to give Real Madrid the lead. His team ended up 3-1 losers though.

Ahead of this game, these two giants have already met twice this season, and Real Madrid have won both matches. In the most recent, in the Super Cup, Benzema was on the score sheet, with the second goal as Real Madrid won 3-2.

Benzema became the highest scoring French player at 413 goals after scoring twice in a 3-0 win over Mallorca in the last game before facing Barcelona. However, Carlo Ancelotti will be sweating over his main man’s fitness after he left the pitch injured.

In his playing career, Benzema has faced Barcelona more than any other team both as a Lyon and Madrid player. He has lined up against the Catalans a total of 41 times and he has 11 goals against Barcelona.

The Frenchman may have walked off injured in the last game but his rate of recovery in previous outings has been amazing. It won’t be a surprise seeing the forward lead his team mates at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday. It has so far been an amazing season for him, scoring 22 league goals and 10 of them have been the crucial opening goals. Only five of these 22 goals have come from the penalty spot.

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