Karim Benzema is one of the Champions League’s talismans, not just for his impressive scoring record – only Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Raul and Robert Lewandowski have more goals – but because of his longevity in the competition.

When the Frenchman hears the Champions League anthem during Real Madrid’s match against Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday, it will signal his 17th season in the competition.

Benzema’s first appearance in Europe’s elite club competition came as a Lyon player in the last 16 of the 2004/05 edition as Lyon progressed against Werder Bremen.

For context, Sergio Ramos has only played in the Champions League for 15 seasons, having made his debut in the competition for Real Madrid in 2005/06.

Only Iker Casillas (20) and Lionel Messi (17) have featured in more Champions League competitions than Benzema’s 16 so far. Continue reading

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