More than a decade, 11 seasons, has passed since Karim Benzema first joined Real Madrid.
His journey has been the opposite of the typical route, with his doubters appearing at the start of his journey rather than after 10 years.
With Zinedine Zidane in charge, there is no doubt that everything will go through Benzema when it comes to Real Madrid’s attack.
“He’s more than a nine, but he scores goals like a number nine,” Zidane explained.
The weight on Benzema’s shoulders is enormous and the last man to perform the same role for a similar period was Santillana, who spent 17 seasons at the club.
In his third campaign, he missed almost the whole season through injury, but after he returned he became the reference point in attack.
It wasn’t until 1985 when he began to hand over the baton to Hugo Sanchez.
Ever since Jose Mourinho thought Emmanuel Adebayor could compete with him, no one has been able to put up a fight.
Real Madrid are browsing the market for a centre-forward, like Erling Haaland, but they do so knowing that with each passing season, Benzema gets better.
Barcelona: Villa, Ibrahimovic and Luis Suarez
Adapting to Lionel Messi is no easy task and Zlatan Ibrahimovic had that role when Benzema arrived in Spain, with the Swede having cost 46 million euros plus Samuel Eto’o.
He lasted one season and David Villa replaced him for 40 million euros a year later, with Alexis Sanchez coming in for 26 million euros when he picked up a serious injury.
In the end, Luis Suarez arrived for 81 million euros and he led the way, but as he ages, the club are now looking to Lautaro Martinez.
Atletico: Merry-go-round of forwards
There have been plenty of changes at Atletico Madrid, from Diego Forlan and Sergio Aguero to Radamel Falcao in 2011, Diego Costa in 2012 and even Villa as Costa’s partner in 2014.
After winning the league, plenty of forwards passed through the club, including Antoine Griezmann, Mario Mandzukic, Fernando Torres, Kevin Gameiro and now Alvaro Morata.
Manchester City: Aguero
City have had plenty of forwards in a back-up role, such as Adebayor, Mario Balotelli, Alvaro Negredo, Edin Dzeko, Carlos Tevez and Gabriel Jesus, but no one has replaced Aguero’s goals.
Bayern Munich: Lewandowski’s era
When Benzema came to Real Madrid in 2009, Mario Gomez was leading the attack, then came Mandzukic from Wolfsburg, but when Robert Lewandowski signed from Borussia Dortmund in 2015, everything changed.
He has now become one of the club’s best ever forwards, alongside Gerd Muller, when he could have joined Real Madrid instead only two years earlier.
PSG: Mauro Icardi is the latest choice
Guillaume Hoarau and Peguy Luyindula were the centre-forwards available to Paris Saint-Germain in 2009, but Gameiro arrived in 2011 to bring in real quality and it would only get better from there.
Ibrahimovic became iconic while Edinson Cavani provided an impressive return, but Mauro Icardi is the latest choice to line up alongside Kylian Mbappe and Neymar.
Juventus: Frustration leading to Cristiano
Failing to replace Alessandro Del Piero, Mirko Vucinic came in and disappointed while Tevez, Fernando Llorente, Mandzukic, Morata and Gonzalo Higuain were all either past their best or not quite up to scratch.
That’s why the club decided to go all out in their pursuit of the ultimate No.9 in Cristiano Ronaldo.
Liverpool: Champions with a false nine
Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino make up Liverpool’s Premier League-winning attack which is so important to Jurgen Klopp’s role, while Divock Origi is the squad’s only out-and-out striker but rarely features.
When Benzema arrived in Madrid, the leading man was Fernando Torres, but since then Suarez, Balotelli and Andy Carroll have all taken up the role.
Chelsea: Werner is the new candidate
Didier Drogba was the obvious choice in 2012, with Fernando Torres offering an alternative when he moved to the club in 2011, but there have been plenty of others.
Morata, Michy Batshuayi, Costa, Olivier Giroud, Romelu Lukaku and Loic Remy are just some of the expensive arrivals to boost the Chelsea attack, the latest being Timo Werner.
Werner wants to lead Chelsea’s new era