Karim Benzema rose to stardom in the football world as early as a decade ago. But, after a controversial sex scandal and a tumultuous relationship with the French team, the footballer’s fame rose to new heights.
Today his Instagram boasts close to 23 million followers with an equal number of posts relevant to his football career as those we’d expect from our favourite rappers—a shameless showcase of his fleet of luxury cars and jets.
This year, the Franco-Algerian athlete branched out, starring in his very own Netflix documentary. After initially airing on Canal+ late last year, Le K Benzema, trails the life and career of the famed footballer.
The documentary takes us back to his early football days with Olympique Lyonnais—the team where he got his start all the way to being picked up by Real Madrid. We also get a glimpse into his personal life with interviews from his parents, his friend and long-time agent, as well as fellow footballers.
We even get a peek into Benzema’s friendship with French rapper Booba, as well as his relationship with the legendary footballer and former Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane.
But perhaps more important than all the celebrity interviews, the documentary shed light on Benzama’s identity—from his relationship with his country of origin, to his humble upbringing, personality and the role he played in the Valbuena sex scandal.
If you haven’t already seen it, the documentary is definitely worth the watch. But if you haven’t had the chance to stream it just yet—and need a couple reasons why you should—MILLE rounds up five things we learned from ‘Le K Benzema’ that’ll definitely convince you to hit play.
Despite the extravagance displayed on social media, Benzema is actually quite shy, discreet, and extremely family oriented. He has also maintained close ties with his hometown and many of his childhood friends.
Benzema and former Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho didn’t get on too well in the beginning— with Mourinho even making subtle insults at the player during conferences—ultimately leading to a confrontation between the two.
Once an idol, Benzema now considers Zinedine Zidane “like a big brother”, and the two have had a respectful and nurturing relationship throughout Zidane’s run with Real Madrid.
While he’s still considered one of France’s best players (if not the best player), the French national team has sidelined Benzema from joining the team since being suspended in 2015 (following the Valbuena sex scandal), and media went on to report rumors of racism on the part of Didier Dechamps—the French national team’s manager—but Benzema himself denies these allegations.
When faced with the decision of choosing which national team to play for (France or Algeria), Benzema admits that the decision was quite difficult—citing equal love for his country of origin and his native, France.