On this day in 2009, Real Madrid signed Karim Benzema for €35m from Lyon. It would turn out to be a shrewd piece of business from the Spanish giants.
The French striker has since notched 243 goals for the club - the fifth all-time top scorer in Los Blancos' history - and has lifted four Champions League trophies, two La Liga's and four Club World Cup's, to name just a few.
But things could have been very different for Benzema when rivals Barcelona came knocking in 2008, but a 'lack of eye contact' scuppered a potential deal.
On this day, exactly 11 years ago, Real Madrid signed Karim Benzema for €35m from Lyon:- Football Tweet (@Football__Tweet) July 1, 2020
:soccer: Goals: 243
:dart: Assists: 134
La Liga: :trophy::trophy:
Copa del Rey: :trophy::trophy:
Spanish Super Cup: :trophy::trophy:
Champions League: :trophy::trophy::trophy::trophy:
UEFA Super Cup: :trophy::trophy::trophy:
Club World Cup: :trophy::trophy::trophy::trophy:
The Drip King. :sweat_drops: pic.twitter.com/vahhZXmruk
Let's dive into this story further.
Ahead of the 2008/09 season, Pep Guardiola had just taken over as manager and one of his first requests to the board was a new forward. Karim Benzema, who played for Lyon at the time, was one of those transfer targets
In fact, the young striker was the main transfer target. He had an impressive goalscoring record at the French club, so Barca were keen on bringing him on board.
The Catalan giants did have Samuel Eto'o at the time but Guardiola decided that the Cameroonian forward wasn't cut out for the role.
Barcelona's technical secretary at the time, Txiki Begisristain, was in charge of negotiations and went to visit the player's house in Lyon to try and convince him of a move.
That meeting, however, didn't exactly go as he originally planned.
Begisristain wasn't convinced by the mannerisms of the French forward, according to Spanish publication MARCA, who claim the technical secretary noticed Benzema wouldn't make eye contact with him when talking.
Txiki also mentioned that he didn't warm to those around Benzema at the time.
Barcelona didn't sign Karim Benzema in 2008 because he didn't show eye contact when talking with technical secretary Txiki Begisristain...:joy::joy::joy: pic.twitter.com/sMmqTj2Eub- CaughtOffside (@caughtoffside) February 22, 2019
It was decided that the club wouldn't sign the striker 'as there was a risk he would become problematic and his adaptation would not be easy.'
Instead, Barcelona would go on to sign David Villa in 2010 while Benzema would eventually move to rivals Real Madrid.
How different things could have been if Benzema had made eye contact with Begisristain on that day in 2008.
Featured Image Credit: PA
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