UEFA.com reporter Joseph Walker runs the rule over Karim Benzema's peak years after the Real Madrid CF striker inked a new five-year deal, running until 2019.
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Karim Benzema has signed a new contract with Real Madrid CF that ties him to the Spanish capital until 2019. Having joined the Blancos in 2009, the new agreement means he could spend a whole decade with the current UEFA Champions League holders.
The French international, who initially struggled to adapt to life under coach Carlo Ancelotti, finished the 2013/14 campaign strongly as a key part of Madrid's attacking trident alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale. In 52 matches, Benzema contributed 24 of the 97 goals scored by the trio – the most formidable strike force in Europe last season. Five of these strikes came in the UEFA Champions League as Madrid won their tenth title, the famous 'Décima'.
"I'm very happy with the coach, with Zizou [Zinédine Zidane, the former Madrid assistant coach] and with all of my team-mates here," the 26-year-old was quoted as saying in February. With 111 goals in 235 competitive matches, Benzema sits ahead of club legends Ronaldo and Fernando Morientes in Madrid's all-time scoring charts.
The former Olympique Lyonnais man has 71 caps for Les Bleus, but doubts were cast over his ability at international level following a 16 month, 1,224-minute goal drought for the national side. After ending his dry spell in October 2013, the striker enjoyed an outstanding FIFA World Cup as France reached the quarter-finals, scoring four times in five appearances.
"Karim has confirmed he is in very, very good form at this World Cup," coach Didier Deschamps said in Brazil. "His joie de vivre at this tournament is obvious, which is great to see." With UEFA EURO 2016 being held in his homeland, a nation will be hoping that Benzema continues to enjoy life, and that he can permanently transfer his club form onto the international stage.
Real Madrid take on Sevilla FC in the UEFA Super Cup next Tuesday, before contesting the Spanish Super Cup against Club Atlético de Madrid – a rerun of last season's UEFA Champions League decider – on 19 and 22 August.