Florentino completes his work

For better and for worse, nobody believed more in Benzema than Florentino. The story of his signing for Madrid is a bizarre story without comparison. A president’s personal bet that he himself took it upon himself to take to the extreme: to the living room of his house in Lyon. And time has proved him right: that 21-year-old striker, the antonym of docile and little contrasted at an international level, today will raise a Golden Ball to the sky of Paris. It is the icing on the cake of an individual career that, in the summer of 2009, went through a shared episode. Benzema would never have been a Real Madrid footballer if it weren’t for Florentino Pérez’s insistence. Blessed, they will think now… both.

Florentino and Benzema shake hands before the Champions League final in Paris.


Florentino and Benzema shake hands before the Champions League final in Paris.REAL MADRIDJOURNAL AS

Everything happened a few months after the businessman returned to the presidency of the white club. His roadmap was sign a new Galacticos team and among them, some like Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaká or Xabi Alonso were chosen. Also Benzemathen one of the diamonds in the rough of French football, but had never played outside of Ligue 1. With only one more season left on his contract with Lyon, the French began to cook up a renewal proposal -quite succulent-. Karim also had offers from other clubs, but one appeared in the margarita. different sheet.

A president comes to see me

Florentino personally went to the player’s house to talk to him. “I was out there with my friends, calm. And suddenly they called me, my family and agent, to tell me that I had to go home fast., that we had to talk. Honestly, I told them to leave me, that I didn’t have time. But they answered ‘you have to come, Florentino is here”, acknowledged the footballer himself in an interview with #Let’s go. To continue: “What did I do? Was I clear. While thinking ‘this man has brought Zizouto Ronaldo, to the Galacticos…’. Suddenly I opened the door and saw him, there he was. I didn’t say anything, just ‘hello”.

Benzema, during his time at Lyon.


Benzema, during his time at Lyon.Shaun BotterillGetty Images

and gave him his word

After breaking the ice, the crux of the matter arrived. Florentino asked a brief question: “Do you want to play for Real Madrid?” To which Benzema replied: “Yes”. That gave way to both reaching a verbal agreementas the striker later said: “I give you my word. I’m going to sign for Real Madrid.”. He did not need Florentino anymore, who reached an agreement with Lyon for the transfer of him in exchange for 35 millions (which could go up to 41 as variables). On the last day of June, in an interview with the Chain BE, said: “The next signing will be tomorrow or the day after.” It did not fail. Just 24 hours later, Benzema was already from Madrid.

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a golden legend

His bet hit the nail on the head. Despite the fact that the sports management had certain doubts and that the range of strikers offered many more options, he wanted Benzema and traveled to Lyon to get him. Today, 13 years after that summer of 2009, the Real Madrid first captain is going to receive a Ballon d’Or. It will be tonight in the 66th edition of the awards that each season delivers French Football. The ceremony will begin at 7:00 p.m. Karim will fly on a private flight with family, club legends and Courtois-will win the Yashin Trophy-; After collecting the award, he will speak to the media and return to land in Madrid at dawn. She will already have the prize in his possession.

Karim Benzema, before the Fourteenth Champions.


Karim Benzema, before the Fourteenth Champions.LEE SMITHREUTERS

And with it, he will break two droughts. A small: four years without being picked up by a Real Madrid player (the last one was Modric, in 2018). And a bigger one: 24 years without a French footballer winning it (Zidane, 1998). His numbers last year have elevated him to the top (44 goals and 15 assists to proclaim himself champion of the League and Champions). He is already the second top scorer in the club’s history (328; 123 behind Cristiano Ronaldo) and the sixth with the most appearances (614; on the hunt for Santillana, with 645). A promise arrived and he is already a legend.

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