Karim Benzema created Club World Cup history by becoming the first player to score in four editions of the tournament as Al-Ittihad booked their place in the second round.
Benzema was born in Lyon and first made a name for himself on the books of Olympique Lyon after a stint at SC Bron as a youngster.
He announced the end of his illustrious Real Madrid career in the summer of 2023 and joined Saudi Professional League club Al-Ittihad.
Career at Olympique Lyon
Benzema's game-time gradually increased year on year until he became a central figure in the Lyon team in 2007/08. Benzema won four successive Ligue 1 titles from 2004/05 to 2007/08.
After another impressive season in 2008/09, Benzema left Lyon for Real Madrid.
Real Madrid talisman
Benzema signed for Real Madrid on July 1, 2009 for a transfer fee reported to be €35million, rising to as much as €41million with incentives added.
The 2011/12 season was even more impressive as Benzema scored 32 goals in 52 appearances in all competitions and Real Madrid won La Liga with a record 100 points under the guidance of Jose Mourinho.
The 2013/14 season saw Benzema score 24 goals in 52 appearances in all competitions as Real Madrid won their coveted 10th UEFA Champions League title with Carlo Ancelotti at the helm. They became the first club (and remain the only one) to do so.
Although the 2012/13 campaign was less impressive and Real Madrid lost the La Liga title to Barcelona, Benzema had established himself as a key member of the team. He scored 20 goals in 50 appearances in all competitions.
Los Blancos defended their European title in 2016/17 and 2017/18, also winning La Liga in 2016/17 under Zinedine Zidane. Benzema goals dried up somewhat in 2017/18 and he netted only 12 times in 47 appearances, but he remained a hard-working player highly valued by Zidane.
Benzema rediscovered his magic touch in front of goal during the 2017/18 campaign. In 2018/19, he scored 30 goals in 53 appearances in all competitions. The following campaign, he netted 27 times in 48 matches as Real Madrid won La Liga. In 2020/21, Benzema scored 30 goals in 46 appearances.
At the ripe old age of 34, Benzema had arguably his most successful season ever in 2021/22.
Turbulent France national team career
Benzema's association with the French national team has been complicated. In 2006, before his international career started, he reportedly spoke to RMC about the possibility of being called up to the Algerian national team.
Despite disapproval, Benzema does not sing the French national anthem, La Marseillaise.
"If you listen to the words, La Marseillaise is a call to go to war. That's not something I like particularly," he reportedly told Vanity Fair.
Raymond Domenech handed Benzema his first call-up to the France national team in November 2006.
The French Football Federation subsequently announced that Benzema would not be in their squad for Euro 2016. He responded with a Marca interview in which he alleged that Didier Deschamps had folded to pressure from racists in France.
"It's a stain," Deschamps said in an interview with RTL, recalling Benzema's interview years later, in 2021.
However, Deschamps recalled Benzema to his squad ahead of the delayed Euro 2020 tournament. In the final friendly warm-up match, he made his first appearance for the national team in over five years.
In October 2021, Benzema scored the opening goal in the Nations League Final against Spain, as France went on to lift the trophy. He was also named man of the match.
Benzema married French model Cora Gauthier in 2016. The couple have a son Ibrahim who arrived in 2017.
Benzema's also has a daughter, Melia, was born on February 3, 2014 from a previous relationship.