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Clasico / Barcelona vs Real Madrid: Benzema lays claim to Clasico throne


The Clasico will enter a new era at the Camp Nou on Sunday, as it will be the first match between Barcelona and Real Madrid without Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo since 2005. Now, Karim Benzema wants to show that he is worthy of being the undisputed star of the Clasico.

Messi first took part in a Clasico on November 19, 2005, which memorably saw Ronaldinho applauded at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu in a 3-0 win for Barcelona, but the departure of the Argentine this summer – three years after Cristiano Ronaldo left Real Madrid – has left a vacant position on the Clasico throne.

Both Messi and Cristiano left their mark on the Clasico in a goalscoring sense, with the ex-Barcelona legend having scored 26 goals in this fixture to the former Real Madrid icon’s 18.

Goalscorer wanted

In the absence of Messi and Cristiano, someone needs to step up when it comes to scoring goals in the Clasico.

Benzema comes into this Sunday’s Barcelona vs Real Madrid match as the top scorer at either club by some distance amongst the current players, with the Frenchman having equalled Carlos Santillana as the fourth top scorer in Real Madrid’s history on 290 goals.

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After having played sidekick to Cristiano, Benzema has flourished in the Portuguese’s absence and is now in contention to win the 2021 Ballon d’Or, while so far this season he has scored more goals than the Clasico’s two former stars with 11, in addition to having provided seven assists.

Scarce company

The closest player to Benzema when it comes to goals is Gareth Bale, who has netted 106 goals in a Real Madrid shirt but will not feature in Sunday’s Clasico due to injury. It is a similar story with the injured Isco, who has 50 goals.

The trio of Marco Asensio (40 goals), Marcelo (38) and Casemiro (30) are next on the list from a Real Madrid perspective. From a Barcelona viewpoint, the departures of Messi, Luis Suarez, Antoine Griezmann and Neymar mean their goalscoring numbers are somewhat bleak.

In fact, the player with the most goals in the current Barcelona squad is Gerard Pique, who found the back of the net on 52 occasions. Not bad for a centre-back.

Benzema’s chance to shine

Benzema is back in favour with France and has become Real Madrid’s star player, so now he will be keen to display his talent in the Clasico – as he did with his goal at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano last season.

Should Benzema put in a strong showing in the Clasico and impress viewers all around the world, his Ballon d’Or case will gain even more weight.

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