Discover the story of Karim Benzema, including intriguing details about his early years, family history, and path to soccer stardom. Born to father Hafid Benzema and mother Wahida Djebbara,
Karim grew up in a family with strong ties to the sport. He has two brothers, Gressy and Sabri, and is now a proud husband and father to his daughter Melia and son Ibrahim.
The journey of the 2022 Ballon D’or winner, affectionately known as “Coco,” goes beyond his extraordinary achievements on the field. It encompasses his humble beginnings before fame and reveals lesser-known aspects of his life off the pitch.
While his remarkable goal-scoring prowess is well known, many people have yet to delve into Karim Benzema’s captivating life story. Now, SoccerBiography dives in to explore the fascinating tale of this soccer legend.
Karim Benzema’s Childhood Story and Early Life:
The Legendary Karim Benzema was born on the 19th of December, 1987, to his father, Hafid Benzema and mother, Wahida Djebbara, in Lyon, France. The young Sagittarius was the sixth of nine children born to the couple, Hafid and Wahida.
Coming from an Algerian immigrant family, Karim spent his childhood in the challenging neighbourhood of Bron, a commune in the Metropolis of Lyon in eastern France. His upbringing was far from easy, as he faced numerous obstacles during his early years.
As a child, Karim had brushes with crime, getting involved with dangerous gangs. However, his father’s discipline played a crucial role in redirecting his path. Hafid was a strict disciplinarian who steered Karim away from the troubles plaguing their neighbourhood.
Life for an immigrant family in Bron was difficult. Karim’s father enrolled him in a Catholic school, where he struggled to fit in. Karim faced discrimination due to his Algerian heritage, and his weight issues led to bullying from classmates.
Over time, Karim transformed himself, becoming well-known in the neighbourhood. He adjusted his eating habits, lost weight, and emerged as a stronger person.
Karim Benzema Biography Facts – The Beginning of His Career:
At just 8 years old, Karim Benzema began his soccer journey with his local team, Bron Terraillon. His friends gave him the nickname “Coco” when he started playing soccer at a young age.
Karim caught the eye of Lyon club officials after scoring two goals in an Under-10 match against the Lyon Youth Academy. Lyon’s representatives approached Bron Terraillon, attempting to persuade the club president, Serge Santa Cruz, to let Karim join them. However, Santa Cruz initially refused.
It wasn’t until Lyon officials spoke with Benzema’s parents that they agreed to the move. As a result, at just nine years old, Karim joined Lyon and served as a ball boy during the senior team’s games while also playing for their youth team.
Life at Lyon:
Despite his struggles with weight, Karim Benzema began his journey with Olympique Lyon, adopting a more introverted lifestyle. Unaccustomed to being away from home, he was often seen as a quiet, shy individual who experienced homesickness.
Many criticized his introverted personality without understanding his history of keeping his distance from others. Over time, these challenges shaped him into the resilient and strong-willed player we know today.
Karim Benzema Biography – Path to Stardom:
As a young player at Lyon, Benzema experienced great success, rapidly advancing through the youth academy. He scored an impressive 32 goals for Lyon’s U-16 team in the U-16 French League.
Even before becoming a well-known name among soccer enthusiasts, Benzema was already achieving accolades. He was part of the French U-17 team that won its first-ever UEFA European U-17 Football Championship, hosted in France in 2004.
The team, which included talented players like Hatem Ben Arfa, Samir Nasri, and Jeremy Menez, defeated Spain in the tournament final with a last-minute goal from Samir Nasri.
During the competition, Benzema contributed one goal, scoring against Northern Ireland in a 3-1 victory.
Karim Benzema Biography – The Bold Competitor:
Upon joining the first team at Lyon, Benzema had to interact with established players such as Florent Malouda, Sylvain Wiltord, and John Carew. Initially, these teammates teased him, but Benzema responded assertively, stating,
“Don’t laugh at me. Remember, I was once a ball boy for you all, but now I’m here to compete, wear the club’s number 10 shirt, and take your places.”
He lived up to his words, becoming Lyon’s favoured number 9 and wearing the number 10 shirt. Benzema scored 66 goals in 148 appearances across all competitions before transferring to Real Madrid, where he continued to make history.
Karim Benzema’s Family Life:
Karim’s parents, Hafid Benzema and Wahida Djebbara Benzema, proudly embrace their Algerian heritage. Hafid was born in Tigzirt, Algeria, while Wahida was born and raised in Lyon, with her family originating from Oran.
Together, they have a large family consisting of nine children (eight boys and one girl). Wahida has described her husband Hafid as the “police of the home.”
Other members of Karim Benzema’s family include siblings Sabri, Da Lakehal, Gressy, Lydia, Farid, Celia, Laeticia, Sofia, Nafissa, and Laeticia Benzema.
Karim Benzema’s Brothers:
While Karim’s older brothers pursued careers outside of soccer, his younger siblings, Gressy and Sabri Benzema, followed in his footsteps.
Both Gressy and Sabri are soccer players, with Gressy initially favouring futsal before shifting his focus to football. Karim often shares advice with Gressy, who visits and stays with him in Madrid.
Gressy currently plays in the French sixth division with Vaulx-le-Velin, while Sabri, who Karim speaks highly of, is part of the youth academy for a team in their hometown of Bron.
Sabri, also a striker, has been scouted by both Real Madrid and Olympique Lyon. Karim once claimed that Sabri would become an even better player than himself. The brothers share a close bond.
Karim Benzema’s Relationships:
Benzema’s romantic history includes relationships with several high-profile individuals. He initially dated Zahia Dehar, a French-Algerian fashion and lingerie designer, who was 16 at the time but claimed to be over 18.
Benzema often paid for her flights to visit him. After their breakup, Dehar’s involvement with other soccer players led to legal troubles for Benzema in the “Zahia affair.”
In 2012, Benzema reportedly dated French singer Jenifer Yael, who is four years older than him. The couple met on a show and were immediately drawn to each other.
Karim was also linked to pop star Rihanna in 2015. Although the pair enjoyed a “special” relationship, reports suggested that Rihanna wanted to take things slow, which didn’t align with Karim’s Sagittarius nature. Their breakup was attributed to this difference and Rihanna’s lingering feelings for Chris Brown.
In August 2015, shortly after ending his relationship with Rihanna, Benzema started dating pop superstar Analica Chavez.
Additional Details on Karim Benzema’s Dating History:
Benzema’s dating history includes relationships with several high-profile figures. One of his former partners, Analica Chavez, was also linked to Raheem Sterling, Memphis Depay, and Axel Witsel. However, Benzema seemed to be quite proud of his relationship with her.
After dating Chavez, Benzema found love with Chloe de Launay, who he considered humble and worthy of starting a family with. Chloe became pregnant and gave birth to their daughter Melia, Karim’s first child.
Karim’s love for Melia is evident in social media photos of him spending time with her, even though he is not often seen with her mother, which fueled rumors that they had split.
Later, Benzema began dating Cora Gauthier, whom he admired for her stunning legs. The couple secretly married in December 2016, and Cora gave birth to their son, Ibrahim, on May 25th, 2017.
Both Cora’s mother and Benzema provided support during the birth. Karim’s love life shares similarities with those of Anthony Martial, Raheem Sterling, and Edinson Cavani, and contrasts with those of Marcus Rashford and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Benzema has faced legal issues throughout his career. In 2010, before being arrested for allegedly blackmailing teammate Mathieu Valbuena, he was confronted by authorities for a separate matter.
Benzema and teammate Franck Ribery were accused of paying for intimate encounters with Zahia Dehar, who was underage at the time. Benzema denied the allegations, and while prosecutors eventually recommended dismissing the charges, the case still went to trial.
Later, Benzema became the subject of an investigation for allegedly blackmailing Valbuena over a tape that featured Valbuena with his girlfriend.
This caused tension within the French national team, leading to the coach’s decision to exclude both players from Euro 2016 unless they resolved their differences. Ultimately, the teammates settled their issues and moved forward.
Quickest Goal in El Clasico History:
With a plethora of stars gracing the field in what is arguably the most significant football match globally, Benzema managed to outshine them all.
In 2011, he scored a mere 21 seconds after kickoff, putting Real Madrid in the lead. Despite eventually losing 3-1, Benzema’s record remains unbroken.
His Most Remarkable Football Season:
Benzema’s exceptional performance during the 2021/2022 season earned him two of the most prestigious awards in football.
Karim became the fifth French player to win the Ballon d’Or and the second-oldest recipient of the award (following Stanley Matthews).
In 2022, legendary female footballer Alexia Putellas also claimed the women’s Ballon d’Or for the second time. Fast forward to the year 2023, the Legendary Benzema is reportedly back to his Ballon d’Or-winning best!