Karim Benzema’s life is like a Netflix show. Sex scandals, blackmail, or “big, big, thuggery” have all been associated with the football star at some point.
This is Karim Benzema’s sensational narrative as the Balon d’Or winner departs Real Madrid.
Pummeling Youths backstage in Lyon
Dating back to 2009, Karim returned to Lyon to appear in a commercial for the new FIFA.
According to set employees, two adolescents taunted Karim, and he invited them backstage.
The youths were expecting his autograph. To their surprise, Karim’s security restrains them as he pummels them.
At age 20, Benzema breaks into the French national team together with Thiery Henry and Eric Adidal.
When older players mock Benzema in training, he responds, “Do not laugh, I’m here to take your place.”
However, he becomes more connected to the younger players.
Karim becomes a regular at Zaman Cafe, a filthy Parisian brothel in a shopping centre, alongside Franck Ribery and Hatem Ben Arfa.
The players are particularly ‘taken’ by Zahia Dehar, a young blonde escort.
Ribery even pays for her flight to Munich as a “birthday present to himself.”
Karim joins Real Madrid in 2009, leaving the cosy confines of Zaman Cafe behind.
However, he struggles to make an impression at Madrid and spends the majority of the season on the bench.
Then, in April 2010, calamity strikes, and the police storm the Zaman Cafe.
Drop from 2010 World Cup Squad
Police identify Benzema as one of four France players who slept with Zahia Dehar after collecting up pimps, punters, and prostitutes.
They also disclose that she was 16 at the time, making her underage under French law.
As the controversy unfolds, France withdraws Benzema from the World Cup.
Ribery and Benzema are detained and brought away in handcuffs on a hot summer day in Paris.
They acknowledge to sleeping with Zahia but claim they were unaware she was underage.
It takes four years for a court to clear them.
Extortion and Blackmail on Former French Star Mathieu Valbuena
Karim, relieved, returns to the nightlife scene, posting a photo captioned “Bitches love Benzy.”
You’d think Benzema would keep his head down after such a debacle.
Especially when he is the captain of an all-conquering Real Madrid team.
But when an old acquaintance approaches Karim with a shady plan, he can’t help but get involved.
Karim Zaneti, Benzema’s boyhood pal, phones in 2015 to tell him he has a sex tape with France player Mathieu Valbuena.
He intends to blackmail the winger and seeks assistance from Benzema.
The Real Madrid striker is overheard assuring Zaneti, “Don’t worry, he will pay.”
Valbuena is settling down with a chocolat chaud in bed after lights out at a French training camp when he hears a tap at his bedroom door.
It’s Karim Benzema calling. The jittery striker begs Valbuena to pay the blackmailers, warning him, “Be careful Math, they are big, big thugs.”
Drop from the French 2016 Euro Squad
But Valbuena refuses to pay and instead goes to the cops.
The tale has become a media phenomenon, with even French President Francois Hollande weighing in to say that Benzema is “morally, not an example.”
He has been omitted from the Euro 2016 team.
His place in the France squad is taken by Olivier Giroud, who is leading the line in a golden moment for Les Bleus.
Fallout with Teammates
It culminates in success at the 2018 World Cup, but Benzema is unimpressed.
When asked to compare himself to Giroud, he responds, “You can’t compare an F1 car to a go-kart.”
And Giroud isn’t the only teammate with whom he clashes…
He is seen on tape in 2020 asking his Real Madrid teammates not to pass to Vinicius Junior.
“Don’t pass the ball to him, dude. Vini is gambling against us on my mother’s life,” he says Ferland Mendy.