Stats don’t lie: Benzema is more clinical than Messi, Ronaldo and Suarez

The next stop for Karim Benzema is Real Sociedad as the 31-year-old enjoys his second coming as the prolific goalscorer who leads the attack for Real Madrid after more than a decade at the club.

Eibar were the last team to fall victim to his clinical finishing and his talent in front of goal.

Six of his nine league goals this season, including that against Eibar, have been Real Madrid’s first in a game. Only against Real Valladolid did he not open the scoring.

“Last season only one player was up to the level we expect: Karim,” one figure at the club said in pre-season after the Frenchman took up the reigns following the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo and the poor form of Gareth Bale.

With 11 goals in all competitions this season, he’s on track to at least match the 30 goals he scored last season, possibly even beating the 32 he scored in his most prolific season in 2011/12.

More efficient than Messi or Cristiano
Since Cristiano left in 2018, only three players in Europe have scored more than Benzema: Robert Lewandowski (63 goals), Lionel Messi (60) and Kylian Mbappe (47).

Benzema’s 41 is even more impressive given that it is from 97 shots, just 2.3 shots per goal, fewer than Messi (2.5), Luis Suarez (2.8) or Cristiano (3.2).

Only Lewandowski can compete with 1.95 shots per goal, showing that unlike Jose Mourinho claimed years ago, Real Madrid do rely heavily on Benzema for their goals.

Since Zinedine Zidane returned in March, no one has played more than his 2,092 minutes, with Raphael Varane and Casemiro next up on 2,070 and 1,920 minutes each.

Around him, Zidane has had dilemmas about who should line up on the flanks, from Marco Asensio to Rodrygo Goes, Vinicius Junior to Brahim Diaz and many others, but Benzema is arguably the first name on the team sheet.