Karim Benzema is the new Ballon d’Or 2022/2023 winner. The French striker wins football’s most prestigious individual award after a brilliant season, both with Real Madrid and his national team.
In addition to his incredible individual performances, scoring a total of 45 goals and making 15 assists in 46 games for Real Madrid, the striker had a crucial impact on his sides. For all these reasons, at the MBP School of Coaches, we are going to analyse in depth the aspects in which the Frenchman excelled in most last season.
Analysis of Karim Benzema
Benzema has never been a typical number 9. Despite playing his entire career as a centre-forward, his behaviour on the pitch has always tended to be more like that of an attacking midfielder than that of a pure striker.
As a result of this dynamism up front, the Real Madrid captain has become a key player in the attacking phase of his teams, especially in the final 3rd and in the box.
Due to his tendency to drop deep to position himself close to the midfielders, Benzema is able to generate situations of numerical superiority. This allows him to increase the number of attacking players in the active area of the ball, and, therefore, the number of passing options, facilitating the circulation of the ball for his team in an area where the accumulation of opposing players tends to be concentrated.
Therefore, it is common to see Benzema organise his team’s attacking play through the excellent execution of different universal collective fundamentals in zone two and three such as ‘Mobilizing the ball when there are no advantageous spaces for progression’ and ‘Directing the play towards advantageous spaces’.
Another of the award-winner’s great strengths has always been his ability to build synergies with his team-mates closest to his zone of action. The striker, thanks to his socio-affective structure, manages to form contexts of relational superiority, enhancing the individual performance of the players with who he associates with.
A clear example of this is the constellation he has established with Vinicius Junior. The two players have brilliantly combined, managing to transfer this good harmony into an excellent performance and effectiveness in the team.
On the other hand, we cannot forget the striker’s ability to generate situations of positional superiority on the pitch. In this case, thanks to his brilliant positioning, Benzema manages to condition the opposition’s defensive behaviour, creating more time and space for his teammates and even for himself.
For example, when Vinicius positions himself between the centre back and the full back, Benzema chooses to fix his position in the inter-line intervals, i.e., between the midfield and the defensive line. By doing this, the French striker conditions the defensive behaviour of the centre back, as if he decides to jump to his mark (Benzema), the centre back will cause a defensive imbalance in the defensive line that could be taken advantage of by Vini Jr.
Moving on to the Ballon d’Or winner’s goalscoring feats, we must highlight the significant improvement he has made in recent years. After Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure from Los Blancos, the forward has taken on the goalscoring responsibility for his team, which has meant that he has had to spend more time inside the penalty area.
For this reason, one of the aspects that the striker has perfected the most and the best is in the application of the individual fundamentals that refers to the spaces that should be occupied in the area in situations of possible finishing.
As can be seen in the images, Benzema has learnt to identify which spaces are the most optimal for attacking, in order to have more time and for the finish.
The same happens in crossing situations, where it is common to see the former Lyon striker look for the back of his direct defender, helping him find a position free from the sight of the opponent for the strike.
Another aspect that stood out the most last season was the quality of his finishing in front of goal. Unlike many other players, KB9 always prioritises accuracy over power in his shots at goal. Thanks to this, he manages to move the ball away from the goalkeeper’s area of intervention, making it difficult for them to make a save.
Karim Benzema’s last season was exceptional. The French international managed to raise his footballing level to the highest heights, taking his teams to the summit.