Player name: Karim Mostafa Benzema
Clubs: SC Bron, Lyon, Real Madrid
Height: 6 ft 1 in
Karim Benzema is a French professional footballer who plays as a striker for Spanish club Real Madrid and the France national team. Known for his aerial ability, workrate, and finishing, Benzema is widely considered to be one of the best strikers in world football.
Born in Lyon, Benzema began his football career at his hometown club Bron Terraillon SC at the age of eight. While at the club, he was nicknamed Coco by friends and, after scoring two goals in an under-10 match against the Lyon youth academy, began attracting attention from the biggest club in the city. According to Serge Santa Cruz, who was president of Bron Terraillon in the 1990s, Lyon officials had visited him directly in an attempt to sign the youngster; however, Santa Cruz refused. After talking with Benzema's father, the club allowed the player to undergo a trial with Lyon. Following the trial, Benzema officially joined Lyon and was inserted into the club's academy. Benzema officially began his senior career Olympique Lyonnais in 2005, contributing sporadically to three Ligue 1 title wins. In 2008, he was named the National Union of Professional Footballers (UNFP) Player of the Year and in the Team of the Year as he finished as the league's top goalscorer and won his fourth title and first Coupe de France. In 2009, Benzema was the subject of a then French record association football transfer when signed for Real Madrid in a transfer worth €35 million.
After struggling to establish himself in his debut season, Benzema eventually reached prominence at Real Madrid and has won major 13 trophies, including three La Liga titles, two Copas del Rey, and four UEFA Champions League titles, and ranks as the club's fifth all-time top goalscorer, as well as their all-time top assist provider. While at Real Madrid, Benzema has also been named French Player of the Year three times
Above we have a very special acquisition for you - a pair of Karim Benzema's match worn Adidas X19.1 boots from the "Encryption Pack" which he used during the 2019-20 La Liga & UEFA Champions League season whilst playing for Real Madrid. As you can imagine, with this pair being from one of the very best in Europe, they come with a list of some cool and unique modifications separating them from the retail variant which Adidas sell commercially.
Worn in multiple high magnitude matches in all competitions during the 2019-20 season, this pair played a big part in the Spanish club's league title winning campaign with Benzema being the club's top scorer... scoring a number of those important goals in this exact pair.
With Benzema being one of Adidas' top elite sponsored athletes, the boots are of course specially custom made to measure in Germany at their headquarters factory by their Athlete Services craftsmen, where they make only the very elite star's equipment. The quality is worlds apart from the pairs which are sold commercially, typically being mass produced. From the picture above, we can see that Benz wears a very specific size UK8.75 (US9.25) to suit his requirements.
Benzema scored Real Madrid's first competitive goal of the 2019–20 season on 17 August in the 3–1 away win over Celta Vigo in the opening La Liga match. Later, on 6 November, he scored a brace in Real Madrid's 6–0 crushing of Galatasaray, achieving two new milestones: he become the second player after Lionel Messi to score in 15 consecutive Champions League seasons and also the third Real Madrid player to score 50 goals in the competition. His performances were praised by manager Zinedine Zidane, who called him a legend and also compared him with Cristiano Ronaldo. Three days later, in the next league match, he scored a first-half brace in a 4–0 win at Eibar, overtaking Ferenc Puskás as the club's 6th all-time goalscorer in La Liga with 157 goals from 323 appearances. In February 2020, Benzema extended his contract with Real Madrid until 2022. On the 1st of March, he made his 500th appearance for Real Madrid in a 2–0 home win over Barcelona in El Clásico, becoming the fourteenth player in the club's history to achieve this milestone. At the end of the season, Real Madrid won the 2019–20 La Liga, while scoring over 20 goals
Above: Karim Benzema wearing this exact pair during the UEFA Champions League match, Real Madrid vs PSG, on the 26th November 2019 at the iconic Estadio Santiago Bernabeu stadium. The match finished with a 2-2 draw, with both goals coming from Benzema in the 17th and 79th minutes respectively.
One of the more noticeable differences between Benzema's X19.1 and a regular retail pair is the heel padding and lining, it's just so different. Usually, a pair of X19.1's would feature the sharp edged claw collar with essentially 2 triangular cuhsions with a perforated lining. Benz's pair however feature an extremely soft cloth like material lining, with extra thick padding which runs right up to the edge of the heel tab and ankle collar which of course provides comfort levels like no other X19.1. The fact that this soft lining has been built over the edges of the claw collar means that any chance of potential blistering in this area would have been pretty much eradicated. "Only The Best For The Athlete" - Adidas sticking to their word...
A French international, Benzema won the 2004 UEFA European Under-17 Championship and made his senior debut for France in 2007, at age 19. He has since earned over 80 caps, including appearing and scoring in three major tournaments: the 2008 and 2012 editions of the UEFA European Championship and the 2014 FIFA World Cup. He scored his first goal in a friendly against Austria, and ranks as his nation's tenth all-time top goalscorer. Benzema was controversially left out of the squad for the 2010 World Cup, and has not played for France after being implicated in a publicised scandal involving blackmail in 2015.
Adidas have added some unique personalisation for Benzema to the outer area of the heels, having applied his custom logo which features his initials and squad number "KB9". The names "Ibrahim" and "Melia" have also been added, with Ibrahim being the name of his son the latter being the name of his daughter. A nice touch.
Above: a close up in game shot during the La Liga tie, FC Barcelona vs Real Madrid, at the Camp Nou stadium the 18th December 2019 of the right boot of this pair of Benzema's X19.1, with his custom logo and the name of his daughter clearly visible.
With match worn boots upon close inspection, there can sometimes be wear and tear marks which can make them even more identifiable to in game close up pictures. Take the stitching seam of where the heel lining meets the edge of the heel cup itself on the left boot, there is a slight split which is actually matchable to pictures from the El Clásico match mentioned above.
A creative, skillful, quick, agile, and prolific forward, who is good in the air and capable of playing off the shoulders of the last defender, Benzema has been described as an "immensely talented striker" who is "strong and powerful" and "a potent finisher from inside the box" with either foot, as well as his head, despite being naturally right footed. An atypical number 9, although he is usually deployed as a centre forward, and can operate as an out-and-out striker, Benzema is also capable of playing in several other offensive positions, and has been used on the wing, or even behind the main striker as a number 10 or deep-lying forward. In addition to his goal scoring, Benzema is known for his willingness and ability to drop into deeper or wider positions, and either link-up play with midfielders, or use his strength and technical ability to hold up the ball with his back to goal to provide assists for teammates, courtesy of his vision, creativity, passing, and eye for the final ball; because of his playing style, he has been described as a "nine and a half" in the media. During his time at Real Madrid, Benzema has also been praised by pundits for his work-rate and tactical intelligence off the ball, as well as his positional sense and attacking movement as a forward, which often draws opposing defenders out of position, and in turn creates spaces for his teammates; as such, he formed a strong offensive partnership with Cristiano Ronaldo during the latter's time with the club. Indeed, Benzema's movement drew defenders away and created space for Ronaldo to make attacking runs into the centre of the area from the left wing, which essentially saw the Frenchman act as a false 9
Now, this is one of our favourite modifications on this particular pair because it shows the sheer extreme lengths brands go to cater for their elite pro's, the entire interior lining of Benzema's X19.1 is customised with a luxurious soft black suede material from the midfoot forwards. Not only this, but the instep area actually features a huge amount of additional padding built in. This custom padded area is not something new for Benzema either, he's had this - or similar modifications with the same efcect - on the vast majority of his boots since the 2012 F50 Adizero. However, back then on those models, Adidas used to stitch in an extra padded patch to that area of his boots, whereas now they actually build it into the upper itself. The forefoot board also differes from the retail version, with the one in Benzema's pair being stiffer with 2 slits/grooves to allow for flexibility.
During his entire professional senior club career so far, Benzema has made a total of 678 appearances scoring 326 goals and creating 166 assists, 133 of those assists coming whilst wearing the famous white strip of the Galacticos - a total which makes him their all time top assister, since surpassing Cristiano Ronaldo's previous record of 131. Not bad for a number 9. In the opinion of France & Real Madrid legend, and RM manager, Zinedine Zidane, Benzema is "the best number 9 in the world, if you like football you have to like Benzema".