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“I’d been waiting for the right moment to do the panenka for a long time”- Karim Benzema on his penalty against Manchester City in the Champions League semi-final

Karim Benzema

In a recent interview with RMC Sport, Karim Benzema revealed that the pressure of taking a penalty in his side’s Champions League semi-final comeback against Manchester City only made him want to pull out a panenka even more. The Frenchman has been in outrageous form this season but took that to the next level in the first leg against Manchester City.

Madrid’s penalty in Manchester came when City were 4-2 up and it was all down to Benzema keep his side in the tie and he flexed his composure to dink the ball right down the middle and send Ederson sprawling. The potential consequences of his decision were obvious, but according to Benzema, it was something he had been desperate to do.

“I’d been trying it for a long time and I was waiting for the right moment, in a match like this with a lot of pressure. In this way, the pressure is gone. There was pressure, obviously, but it’s good pressure. It’s a kind of pressure that allows you to try this kind of thing. That’s just my opinion. I put the ball down and knew that I was going to do it. I thought of nothing else. I only thought of doing it,” said Benzema.

Benzema also reflected on his techniques to keep calm, beginning with staring at the referee right until the moment he begins his run-up.

“I always do that,” he explained. “Not just this time. If I don’t do it, I don’t see or hear the whistle. I’m so focused that I can’t hear anything anymore. I’m just focused on my actions, hoping that the ball goes in.

“I kept my eyes on the ball [after the shot] because it was a good shot. That’s why I was looking at it, not because I thought it was going to hit the bar, but because it was a nice shot. I just watched and waited before I could celebrate the goal,” the Frenchman concluded.

Read More: Karim Benzema becomes the second-highest goalscorer in Real Madrid’s history, equalling Raul’s 323 goals

Karim Benzema is the front runner for Ballon d’Or this season

Karim Benzema likely to be added to the 26-man roster by Didier Deschamps ahead of the European championships

Karim Benzema is the clear front runner for the Ballon d’Or this season with 44 goals and 14 assists in all competitions. His winners against Chelsea, PSG and Manchester City in the Champions League have propelled Los Blancos to their 17th final.

Real Madrid’s La Liga triumph and Supercopa victories add to his chances of winning the coveted prize. If Real Madrid wins the Champions League, it will be crystal clear that no other than Karim Benzema will lift the golden ball this year.

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