Karim Benzema has been a man on a mission in 2021/22.
Real Madrid‘s talisman has played the best football of his distinguished career this season and he’s the primary reason why the club are in the Champions League final.
Benzema has scored 14 goals in Europe’s top-tier competition, with a whopping 10 of them coming in the knockout stage.
Is it really any wonder the 34-year-old is the heavy favourite to win the 2022 Ballon d’Or?
He has been a joy to watch throughout the season and incredibly, only one player in history has bettered his record of 10 knockout goals in a European Cup season.
So who’s ahead of him? Well, it’s another Real Madrid legend and thanks to IFFHS, you can check out the elite 10-man list below.
The 10 players with most goals in a European Cup knockout stage
Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid, 2013/14) – 8 goals
Gerd Muller (Bayern Munich, 1972/73) – 8 goals
Jose Aguas (Benfica, 1960/61) – 8 goals
Alfredo Di Stefano (Real Madrid, 1959/60) – 8 goals
Milos Milutinovic (Partizan Belgrade, 1955/56) – 8 goals
Karim Benzema (Real Madrid, 2021/22) – 10 goals
Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid, 2016/17) – 10 goals
Alfredo Di Stefano (Real Madrid, 1957/58) – 10 goals
Ferenc Puskas (Real Madrid, 1959/60) – 12 goals
Is it really any surprise the only four players to hit double figures were all playing for Real Madrid at the time? Absolutely not.
The 13-time winners have made the European Cup/Champions League their own personal playground down the years and are continuing to do so in the present day.
Puskas’ record is made all the more remarkable by the fact that four of his goals came in the 1960 final against Eintracht Frankfurt – which Los Blancos won 7-3 at Hampden Park.
But if Benzema scores a hat-trick against Liverpool, he will break the Hungarian’s record and if that’s achieved, he may as well be handed the Ballon d’Or trophy on May 28th.