ATHLETICS

THE ORDINARY OF EXTRAORDINARY. KARIM BENZEMA.

51 minutes into this year’s UEFA Champions League Final, Karim Benzema stuck out his boot and kicked Liverpool’s hopes to the curb. A fluke goal to some, but the ability to be in the right place at the right time is seldom dumb luck. To be ready to pounce at exactly the right second is no easy feat. Benzema has maintained this level of ready for 9 years and over 400 matches for Real Madrid. We spent a day with Benzema to find out how.

In between family time, training, commuting and a Vanity Fair fashion shoot, we were able to chat with him and ask how he creates his extraordinary. His truth is simple. He’s never off, on or off the field. Lying on the physio bench as the physio kneads his muscles like dough, he told us

I’m always under pressure. I go out to pick up some groceries and people talk to me. I’m buying petrol and people are talking to me. Everywhere I go, so I have to live with it.


It is constant, but he believes “...it is good pressure. I think to get to the highest level of your game, you need it”. This tension runs through his ordinary life and explodes on the field. At his level, there are no flukes. Only talent teamed with dedication, ready to turn ordinary into extraordinary. Football is the focus of Benzema’s ordinary life, but his game ready is not ready made. He doggedly follows the same routine in the days and weeks leading up to a match. We shadowed him on one of these days, spending the day with him, his family and friends. His day is like clockwork. He wakes and walks the dog at the same time. He makes breakfast for his 4-year-old daughter, she has chocolate spread on whole-wheat toast. He has bananas blended with water and protein powder.

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He drinks 5 of these protein shakes daily. Then he trains with the team at Valdebebas, followed lunch at home with his family and friends. The day ends with physio and a workout in his home gym. Before he can relax for an hour or two, maybe watch an episode of GOT or El Chapo. It’s a full day. Normally when not in training gear, he wears the same outfit - jeans and a hoodie. Today it is the adidas Athletics Z.N.E Hoodie Fast Release made for Rip Ready Athlete. It’s the perfect fit for Benzema, a player who is always ready to take to the field, no matter what.

Is it worth all the early mornings, the physio sessions, the years of training, the daily commute to the training ground for hours of pain? Holding his baby son in the living room of his home, Benzema says it best, “Football can communicate with people. I can feel the joy of what I do on the pitch brings to people. That's what I love about football, the way it stirs up emotion.”. Now that’s something extraordinary worth the dedication of ordinary life. Rip Ready.