Karim Benzema outdoes himself every year and there’s no single great secret to his success, but various factors which contribute to making him the most complete striker in Europe.
It has been a case of evolution not revolution for the Frenchman, who has developed a number of habits which help him to be effective season after season.
We are seeing the benefits of this now more than ever due to the increased responsibility Benzema has taken on since Cristiano Ronaldo left Real Madrid.
Individual work at home
Five years ago, Benzema decided to have a home gym installed and he does individual work there every afternoon, after club training where he is one of the hardest workers.
The main aim of these sessions is muscle toning and strength building, in order to prevent injury and it is paying dividends as he rarely misses matches.
Trusted osteopath and physios
Benzema has for some time now placed his faith in a French osteopath as well as a few choice physios and he takes his work with them seriously.
One of the methods they use which he he has shared on social media in recent seasons is ‘cupping’ therapy.
Advice from nutritionists
The striker follows dietary advice from the Real Madrid medical team as well as his own nutritionists and while his mother’s cous cous is his favourite dish, it is an occasional luxury.
Benzema lives a quiet life, seldom going out and spending most of his down time with his children, his cars or watching combat sports, which inspire some of his muscular exercises.
Fewer games and less burnout
His exile from the French national team has been a double-edged sword, wounding his pride and confidence but also allowing him more rest and therefore to be in better condition for Los Blancos.
It wasn’t easy at first for Benzema to watch his first team colleagues jet off on international duty while he stayed at Valdebebas to work with the kids, but he has accepted and learned to enjoy it.
New role at Real Madrid
For Benzema this has been the only change in recent years, that since Cristiano Ronaldo left for Juventus, the team now plays for him and not for the Portuguese forward.
He now has a greater responsibility and moves which previously ended in Ronaldo providing the final touch are now designed for him to finish.
Excluding penalties, Benzema actually has a better goalscoring record than his former teammate since they parted ways, with 72 to Ronaldo’s 67 and scored at a more efficient rate.
Experience and Zidane’s confidence
Over the years, the 33-year-old has learnt the importance of looking after himself and he reckons he has two or three more years left in him at the top level.
Maturity on and off the pitch have been key to making him a better player, as has the confidence and trust of Zinedine Zidane.