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Karim Mostafa Benzema (born December 19, 1987 in Lyon) is a French football player. He is under contract with Spanish champions Real Madrid in the Primera División.
Benzema was raised in 2004 during the current season from the youth of Olympique Lyon in the first team and made his league debut on January 15, 2005 against FC Metz. Even before his first league goal against AC Ajaccio on March 4, 2006, he scored his first European goal in the Champions League game against Rosenborg Trondheim on December 6, 2005. On March 13, 2008, he extended his contract until 2013 with the option of another season.
In the 2007/08 season Benzema won with his team for the fourth time in a row, the French championship. Although he had suffered from an internal ligament tear in the knee from March to April 2008, he was one of the regular players. With 20 goals in 30 games he became top scorer of the Ligue 1. On 11 May 2008, he was voted "Footballer of the Year" by his colleagues in France's Ligue 1.
In July 2009, Benzema moved to Real Madrid. The transfer sum amounted to initially 35 million euros. He signed a six-year contract until June 30, 2015. He made his debut on August 29, 2009 compared Deportivo La Coruna. He scored his first competitive goal on 20 September 2009 at the home game against Deportivo Xerez. In the seasons 2009/10 and 2010/11 he was mostly overshadowed by his teammate Cristiano Ronaldo and Gonzalo Higuaín. In the season 2011/12 Benzema could claim Higuaín’s place and contributed with 21 league to win the Spanish championship. He was then voted France's Footballer of the Year by the French magazine France Football in 2011 and 2012. In the 2013/14 season Benzema won with Real Madrid for the second time the Spanish Cup and the first time the UEFA Champions League. Following this, he was voted France's Footballer of the Year for the third time. Before the 2014/15 season Benzema extended his contract until June 30, 2019. In the season 2015/16 he won the UEFA Champions League again, the subsequent season 2016/17 proved to be even more successful.
Benzema was accused in France of having had sex with a minor prostitute (punishable under article 225-12-1 of the Code Penal) in a Munich hotel in 2009. He denied any sexual contact with the person concerned. The trial was closed after several months of interruption in January 2014. He was acquitted because no one - including the public prosecutor's office - was able to prove that he was aware of the prostitutes' minority.
In October 2015, Benzema was cited before examining a case against a blackmail attempt against a French national team mate Mathieu Valbuena. On November 5, 2015, Benzema was charged with "complicity in an attempted blackmail and involvement in a criminal organization" and was banned by court order from any contact with Valbuena.
On 11 December 2015, Benzema was excluded from the national team until further notice by the French Football Association.