Karim Benzema was born on the 19th December 1987 in Lyon, France. Benzema's parents are of Algerian origin. Benzema played youth football with Bron Terraillon, the 9 year old Benzema was spotted by the Olympique Lyonnais' scouts and was quickly signed into the Olympique Lyonnais' youth academy. Benzema was hugely successful in the underage system, scoring considerable amounts of goals for Lyon youths. Benzema was also capped internationally for France's U-16's,U-17's and U-18's. Benzema's underage national scoring record was an impressive 20 goals from 35 starts. Benzema also won honours with the national team when France won the Uefa U-17 European Championships in 2004. Benzema played alongside his current Lyon team-mate Hatem Ben Arfa.

Benzema made his breakthrough to the senior Lyon team in 2005, aged 17, in a French Ligue 1 match against Metz, providing the assist for the winning goal by Bryan Bergougnoux. Benzema featured six times for the senior team in that league campaign, while still playing for Lyon's U-18's. The 2005-6 season saw Benzema earning more senior experience, making 13 French Ligue 1 appearances and scoring on his Champions League debut against the Norwegian team, Rosenberg. 2005 also saw Benzema signing a 5-year contract with Lyon. Benzema made even more appearances in the 2006-7 season, scoring 5 goals from his 21 appearances, scoring again in the Champions League, this time against Dynamo Kiev.

In 2006, the Algerian F.A. asked Benzema if he would play for Algeria, qualifying through his parents. Benzema, politely rejected the offer stating that he would prefer to play for French national team. Benzema was called up to the senior French squad in November 2006 to play a friendly against Greece. Benzema was forced out of the squad through injury, but was called up again in March 2007 for a home friendly against Austria. Benzema made his debut and dutifully scored the winning goal.

As of the start of the 2007-8 French Ligue 1, Benzema has been a permanent fixture in Lyon's starting team, playing up front in Lyon 4-3-3 formation. Benzema's star has risen with outstanding performances in the first have of the season, scoring 12 goals from 16 matches. Comparisons have been made between Benzema and that other French-Algerian footballing genius Zinedine Zidane. Benzema is now attracting the interests of some of the biggest clubs in Europe. There have been rumours linking Benzema to giants like Real Madrid, AC Milan, Inter Milan, Juventus, Liverpool and Arsenal.

Benzema has cited Ronaldo as a major influence on his desire to play football.


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