In the game of football where tempers flare and tackles fly, one footballer has managed to navigate his illustrious career without ever seeing a red card from the match official.
Karim Benzema, the seasoned forward from France, left Europe without a single red-card offense on his disciplinary record.
Last season’s Ballon d’Or winner now plays for Saudi Professional League club Al Ittihad and has also gone over 10 games for the club without any explusion-from-the-game-worthy offense.
Benzema, the 35-year-old #9, spent 14 years at the iconic Real Madrid, after joining them from Lyon in 2009’s Galaticos-signing season.
He participated in 893 games of European professional football and not once has he been sent off. Now he has surpassed 900+ games without being sent off with a red card.
Even greats like Pele, Diego Maradona, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Lionel Messi have seen red cards, but Benzema’s discipline stands out as a symbol of control in a sport where it’s easy to lose one’s temper; he would better know that playing alongside Sergio Ramos who is one of the red-carded players in Real Madrid shirt.
Karim Benzema joins the ranks of Raul Gonzalez, the ex-Real Madrid and Schalke 04 captain, who went more than two decades without receiving a red card.
Also on this exclusive list is Andres Iniesta, the former Barcelona maestro, known for his precise passing and vision. Iniesta saw his fair share of yellow cards throughout his career, with 67 in club competitions and five during his 131 appearances for Spain, but never the red.
Germany legend Philipp Lahm, a versatile defender playing most of his club career at Bundesliga giant Bayern Munich, received 30 yellow cards during his career but never a red card.
Another great example of exemplary behavior on the pitch is that of the English pundit, Gary Lineker who had no cards including yellows in 654 games, and no top-flight titles, but received the FIFA Fair Play Award in 1990.
In a world that often witnesses heated arguments and protests on the pitch, Benzema’s philosophy stands strong: “The referee blew his whistle, it’s over. What do you want to do? He can’t go back on it,” he has stated.
Zero red cards in 904 matches—can he finish off his legendary career with never being sent off on a football pitch?