Form is temporary, class is permanent.
What comes to your mind when I say the name Karim Mostafa Benzema? Right now, it might range from “Cannot Score Goals” to “One of the most talented strikers in the world.” But to me when I hear that name I can only think of the phrase “Form is temporary, while class is permanent.” Need I say why?
When Real Madrid announced the signing of Karim Benzema for €35 million a couple of seasons back the footballing world was rocked. Real had just completed the acquisitions of Kaka and Cristiano Ronaldo for huge sums of money and this move by Don Florentino made the world go ballistic. Real Madrid had signed one of the highest paid French footballers at that time, a 20-year old prodigy, a player who, arguably, had more similarities to Zinedine Zidane than anybody else. Real Madrid had just added Karim Benzema to their ammunition. And that, to many, meant that Real Madrid just added 30 more goals to their season.
Karim made an immediate impression on the fans by coming on as a second half substitute in Real’s first game of the new era against the minnows Shamrock Rovers in Dublin and scoring the solitary goal of the game that too in the dying minutes. Karim Benzema had just shown the world why Real Madrid had signed him, why Florentino Perez himself had gone down to France to convince the Frenchman to sign for his club rather than Manchester United or any of the other top clubs in the world which were after him. Trust me, there were quite a few.
Benzema made his Lyon debut (both domestic and European) back in the 2004-05 season when he came on as a second half substitute to create a goal for Bryan Bergougnoux in Lyon’s 2-0 win against Metz. He was 17 then and that was a sign of things to come for the young French-Algerian. In the next couple of seasons he made frequent appearances for the French giant scoring 6 in 34 overall. The 2007-08 season though would be his breakthrough season with Lyon losing big names like Florent Malouda, Sylvain Wiltord and John Carew. Manager Alain Perrin handed Karim the number 10 jersey and the youngster duly obliged with 31 goals in 51 games of which 20 came in the league and ultimately leading Lyon to their first ever double. Tthat made Benzema a superstar. Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas had to quell transfer rumors surrounding Benzema by placing a €100 million price tag on the striker. The 2008-09 season was not as special as the previous one with Benzema netting only 16 goals overall and Lyon losing their title. But Karim did make a stand-out contribution in Lyon’s Champions League knock-out phase tie against Manchester United earning the praise of Sir Alex himself ergo leading to rumors that Man United were after the youngster in the following summer after the departure of Carlos Tevez and Cristiano Ronaldo. But it wouldn’t be the case as Real Madrid snapped up the chance to buy the French international. His first season at Real was not up the mark. He was expected to score a lot of goals just like his childhood hero, the legendary, Luiz Ronaldo did in his first season for Los Merengues. But that wouldn’t be the case. Benzema did score a double against Xerez during the early stages of the campaign and that was that as Karim battled through the season trying hard to settle in Spain. Experts claimed that it was only fair to give him some time as he was young and settling in a completely new environment was just not an easy task. Also, considering the kind of form Gonzalo Higuain was in, Benzema stood no chance of a comeback. The season didn’t end well as he was dropped from the French National Team for the World Cup and was also indicted for his involvement with a prostitution ring.
He is now in his second season at Real and the expectations haven’t come down even a bit. The fans still expect him to score and his failure in doing so has just disappointed us. The questions raised about Benzema not working hard enough in training have too been answered both by the player and the manager from time to time and it is suggested that Benzema is gaining the confidence of both himself as well as the manager slowly. His penalty against Murcia was not the first time he had scored this season but it was a welcome goal as he needed it more than anyone else. And the resulting celebration showed how rejoiced his team mates were to see him slot home from the spot. Scoring is definitely not something completely new for Karim. He has done that at the highest level and has the capability in him to do it again. And I am pretty sure he will. Its just that the sooner the better both for the individual as well as the club. They didn’t say Form is Temporary, Class is Permanent for nothing.
Real will be hoping that the Frenchman is back to his best soon enough as it is El Clasico season. The date for the highly anticipated clash between the top two teams in Spain has been set. Real will travel to the Camp Nou to face the Champions in the first El Derbi of the season on Monday, 29 November. Yes, a MONDAY. The LFP announced the date yesterday and chose Monday of all days to ensure that the fixture does not coincide with the Catalunya elections which take place the previous day. But Ozil doesn’t care. We shouldn’t either. He said:
I don’t care when the Clasico takes place. I’ve never played on a Monday, but it is a beautiful game and our objective is to win it.
I don’t care either. All I care about is us winning. But that shouldn’t be our immediate priority. We have a game at El Molinon coming up this weekend against Sporting Gijon. We need three points to stay on top. Last season we couldn’t get them, lets hope its different this time around.
Until next time,
Para Siempre Blanco!