Karim Benzema will travel to Manchester as one of Real Madrid’s most important players.
With Sergio Ramos suspended and Marcelo behind Ferland Mendy in the pecking order, the Frenchman will likely wear the captain’s armband at the Etihad Stadium too.
There has never been so much responsibility on Benzema’s shoulders.
Cristiano Ronaldo and his goals are gone, while Gareth Bale has downed tools under Zinedine Zidane.
However, only Cristiano, Lionel Messi and Raul Gonzalez have scored more than Benzema’s 64 career Champions League goals.
Only six of those goals, though, have come away from the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu in the knockout stages.
They were in the last 16 against Schalke in 2011, twice in the quarter-finals against Apoel Nicosia in 2012, twice in the last 16 against Schalke again in 2014 and in the semi-finals against Ajax in 2019.
Benzema has never scored in a Champions League semi-final away from home, but he has netted in a final – against Liverpool in Kiev in 2018.
Now, against Manchester City on August 7, Benzema has it all to do.
He’s the most important attacking player of Zidane’s second spell in charge because of his numbers – 56 goals in 206 games – and his contributions going forward.
There will be no Ramos on the pitch in Manchester, so it will be up to Benzema to lead the team to the final stages in Lisbon