Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Benzema says goodbye to Real Madrid with his last goal at the Bernabéu

Real Madrid shaken by the goodbye of Karim Benzemawithout even time to prepare a typhus of farewell to such a legendReal Madrid closed this Sunday LaLiga 2022/23 with a draw against Athletic that, thanks to Villarreal’s equalizer against Atlético, helped the whites to finish the championship in second place. To those of Valverde, on the other hand, it is useless: one more season, They will not play European competition (Osasuna will do it).

The French could say goodbye with his last goal, scored from a penalty a minute before Ancelotti decided to replace him to receive the heat from the stands. A privilege that served Asensio, who came out in the second half and was later relieved in discount, but who he denied so much to Marian like Hazard. It’s not like anyone at the Bernabéu missed them much, to tell the truth.

Karim Benzema was the only one of those who are already known to leave who was in the starting eleven. The two that are in doubt, on the other hand, were in the lineup: Dani Ceballos and Nacho. And it was striking that the youth player did it as a center back, his preferred position, instead of as a left back, where Rüdiger joined. A possible clue about his immediate future that will have to wait to be confirmed.

Courtois saves a penalty

Be that as it may, the game had a powerful aroma of paperwork, of homage. Athletic had seventh place at stake, but faith is not the greatest of its virtues lately. It was seen in minute 10, when Vesga missed a penalty against Courtois (imperial in his save) pointing for a hand from Kroos. One of those hands that are, with the regulation in hand, but that go against common sense: the German was on his back and falling from a jump to fight the ball high.

The goalkeepers became protagonists in the first half, with Simón also saving a couple of clear chances from Vinicius and Rodrygo, and with the Belgian intervening before a powerful but focused shot from Yuri. Athletic offered a good version, it was noted that more was being played, but they lacked determination and punch to take advantage of it.


The last day of LaLiga Santander, in pictures

Sancet overtakes Athletic

The second part started with applause Marco Asensio when going out to warm up and with chants in favor of Benzema, further reinforcing the anti-competitive climate that presided over the Bernabéu. Circumstance that he took advantage of Athletic to get ahead on the scoreboard. Courtois heroically stopped Sancet’s first attempt, but he could do nothing to prevent the Navarrese midfielder from making the rebound.

Shortly after, Asensio entered and, here is another clue, Ceballos withdrew from the field without giving the impression that this change could have something special. Without implying that he could be the last in the Madrid shirt, wow.

Athletic satisfied with the result, although the two consecutive goals for Osasuna They already left him virtually without options to finish seventh, Madrid was gaining ground. Until in the 71st minute, a slap from Yuri to Militao in a jump led to a penalty in favor of the whites.

Benzema, penalty goal and substitution

And, of course, there that Benzema went to launch it, The Last Dance. Through the center, deceiving Simón, the Frenchman scored his last goal at the Bernabéu and immediately afterwards he was replaced by Modric. Tens of thousands of applause, less emotion on his face than one could intuit and hugs for all the members of the bench (especially the affectionate one from Ancelotti) seasoned a key moment in Madrid’s recent history.

The final stretch lost a lot of steam, although it was Madrid that sought the winning goal the most, with a very clear chance by Rodrygo that the Brazilian wasted. There was only time left for Asensio was replaced by Lucas Vázquez (neither for Mariano nor for Hazard) and thus add to the tribute to Benzema.


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