The King of Real Madrid is still him: while the Bernabeu fell under the spell of Mbappé, author of a first supersonic goal (39th), Benzema came out of his box to carry his team to success and an unexpected qualification.

Returning from the locker room, Karim Benzema took advantage of an error by the Parisian defense to equalize at 1-1... then sealed the qualification of the Merengues with a double in one minute and 46 seconds (76th, 78th), taking advantage of two errors from Gianluigi Donnarumma and Marquinhos.

The joy of Real Madrid's French striker Karim Benzema after his goal scored against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League round of 16 second leg on March 9, 2022 at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium JAVIER SORIANO AFP

A hat-trick that allows the 34-year-old striker to overtake legend Alfredo di Stéfano and climb on the podium of the top scorers in the history of Real with 309 goals in all competitions, behind Raul (323 goals), which he should not not join until next season, and the unattainable Cristiano Ronaldo (451 goals), now at Manchester United.

The joy of Real Madrid's French striker Karim Benzema after his goal scored against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League round of 16 second leg on March 9, 2022 at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium JAVIER SORIANO AFP

In history

Benzema also became the first player in history to score a hat-trick against Paris Saint-Germain in a Champions League knockout game.

The joy of Real Madrid's French striker Karim Benzema after his goal scored against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League round of 16 second leg on March 9, 2022 at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium GABRIEL BOUYS AFP

Reduced in the first leg, and aligned when he was just coming out of an injury which had kept him away from the field for three weeks, "KB9" regained his full potential on Wednesday evening, and once again raised his level of play. when his team needed it most.

From the first minutes, he delighted the public with an acrobatic rescue of a ball which spun into touch.

Then, shortly before the half-hour mark (25th), he alerted Gianluigi Donnarumma for the first time to a curled shot after Luka Modric lost the ball at the entrance to the Paris area.

A ball deflected by the Italian goalkeeper, but which did not seem to be on target.

It was a few minutes before a header that was too soft, caught with both hands by Donnarumma.

And after his first goal, the former Lyonnais almost scored again in the 64th, with a header that grazed the right upright of the Parisian cages.

Indispensable offensive beacon of the "White House" since the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo to Italy in 2018, Benzema came out of the locker room fifteen minutes after the final whistle on Saturday evening in the victory (4-1) against Real Sociedad in La Liga, to come and thank the supporters.

A match where Benzema had already scored, on penalty.

Pichichi

On Wednesday, the Bernabéu chanted his name.

That of a striker who was often criticized for the lack of sense of goal in his early Madrid years.

This season, Benzema has 30 goals and 12 assists in 33 appearances in all competitions, far ahead of Vinicius' 13 goals and Marco Asensio's 8, Real's other two top scorers this season.

The current top scorer and assistor in La Liga (20 goals and 10 assists in 24 matches) is in the running to win his first "Pichichi" trophy in Spain, after the one won in 2007-2008 in Ligue 1 with Lyon (with twenty league goals and 31 in all competitions that season).

The joy of Real Madrid's French striker Karim Benzema after his goal scored against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League round of 16 second leg on March 9, 2022 at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium JAVIER SORIANO AFP

While waiting for Prince Mbappé, the Santiago-Bernabéu can be reassured.

Its king Karim Benzema still reigns, and he is in great shape.

© 2022 AFP

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