KARIM BENZEMA came to SPANISH FOOTBALL along with Kaka & Cristiano Ronaldo at the juicy price of around 35M€. In fact, REAL MADRID CF President Florentino Perez flew personally to Lyon to get the then Olympique de Lyon forward to sign the dotted line. The Frenchmen was a personal bet for Perez & Real Madrid who considered they had just signed the biggest & future "Best Center Foward" in Europe as part of their ambitious renewal plan.

Spanish Football
Karim Benzema scores against Lyon in Champions League

However, Benzema has gone through his personal "Calvary" to get where he is today. The Football player has "wondered aimlessly in the desert" for a season & a half to come out a better player & mentally stronger. The player has had to endure harsh criticisms (media & even team-mates eg. Kaka), long & very cold spells on the substitution bench, various "humiliating" 88th min substitutions & publicly harsh words for his Coach Mourinho that would have mentally made others crumble or seek a departure from the Club. This last point was seriously contemplated, with English Club Manchester United very firm in their attempts to get the forward over to the English Premier League. In a nutshell, Karim Benzema was simply a shadow of the player that he was before he arrived to Real Madrid & was relegated to a secondary ( sometimes third role ) behind Gonzalo Higuain as the main starting forward.

The reasons for his hard adaptation are said to be many:

1. A timid personality in an unfamiliar city, culture & language. The man had not been out of Lyon until he signed for Real Madrid.

2. Real Madrid itself. This Football Club is unique, with the word "winning" the only valid.
3. Enormous crushing pressure from the Club, fans, media & everything  to do with Spanish Football. Many other young players would have buckled.
4. Gonzalo Higuain another Football player who went through his own personal ordeal & triumphed . The Argentine forward found his "state of grace" precisely when Benzema arrived that made it difficult to argue that Benzema should be the starting forward.

What occurred to change things?

Firstly, the Gonzalo Higuain back injury months back opened up the window of opportunity. Secondly, the coming of forward Enmmanuel Adebayor was a clear "last warning" message for Benzema to wake up or ...Lastly, most will argue that his Coach José Mourinho has played a huge role in "fixing the mind of the player" & adapting his play to the Real Madrid system. The Frenchmen then did the most important, score goals, the prime reason he was signed for & for what he had won his previous reputation.

Mourinho gives instructions to Benzema

Karim Benzima has now six Champions League goals, just two behind heavy weights like Eto´o & Mario Gomez. Plus in all competitions this season ( Champions, Spanish Cup & Spanish League) he has 20 goals. Benzema speaks Spanish, Benzema is no longer "over shadowed" by his big star team-mates, Benzema now feels like a vital member of the Real Madrid squad, Benzema scores goals, Benzemas helps the team play & finally Benzema is now happy! All vital ingredients that have contributed to the Kafka "metamorfosis" in reverse , from creature to full blown European Football "crack". May the transformation , maturing & evolution continue for Benzema & we can enjoy of all his innate & extraordinary talent.

To conclude, I am glad the player is shutting the month of his critics, myself included, but more importantly that the "walk through the Football desert" has been beneficial for the professional development of the Football player & in the last case, of the individual.

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