Karim Benzema was one of the most in-form strikers in all the world throughout 2022, spurring Real Madrid to a La Liga title and a Champions League in the first half of the calendar year.
The Frenchman scored 44 goals in 46 matches across all competitions in 2021/22 as he took out the 2022 Ballon d’Or. While he has not quite hit those heights in recent Madrid games, he remains a force to be reckoned with.
Fans will notice a wrap on Benzema’s right hand that he’s worn consistently for the last three years. It’s hard to miss, as Benzema sometimes celebrates by pumping his fist into the air upon finding the back of the net.
Is it superstition that has Benzema wrapping his hand every match? Is he injured? Here’s the reason Benzema wraps his hand every game.
MORE: Benzema career highlights and trophies
Why does Karim Benzema wrap his hand during matches?
The wrap on Benzema’s right hand is there for medical reasons.
The Frenchman broke his right pinky finger in a collision with Real Betis defender Marc Bartra during a La Liga match in January of 2019. Surgery was required, and doctors told Benzema he would need two months of rehab before being healthy enough to return to the pitch.
Benzema told the doctors to shove it. He was back the next match, playing the full 90 minutes six days later against Sevilla at home. He would score a brace in the next game, a 4-2 win over Espanyol just 14 days after the injury.
Unfortunately, while that decision allowed Benzema to get back into the side, it also resulted in further injury. While it’s not known when that second knock occurred, Benzema confirmed it during a pre-match press conference early in the 2021/22 season.
“I did have surgery, but the problem is that you need to be out for two months and I wanted to stay with my teammates,” Benzema said. “I then injured it again, but now I don’t have time to have another surgery so that’s why I play with a bandage.”
So, as Benzema continues to put off the procedure which would leave him sidelined for significant time, he continues to wear the bandage. With the calendar so loaded with matches, there’s no good time for him to take two months off. Even in the offseason, it would leave his preseason preparation so behind that he would surely miss the start of the new campaign.
KB(1)9 🇫🇷#FiersdetreBleus pic.twitter.com/Xvf00hWOF0
— Equipe de France ⭐⭐ (@equipedefrance) June 23, 2021
Having worn the wrap for three years now, it has become part of Benzema’s on-field presence and persona, an identifying factor so noticeable that his FIFA video game character also wears the wrap.
His injury was brought back to the forefront while receiving his Ballon d’Or award in October of 2022, as fans noticed his finger was awry while accepting his prestigious individual accomplishment.
🚨 That finger is a sign of Benzema’s priorities. He put Real Madrid ahead. He did not undergo surgery and that is how the little finger of his right hand has remained. @AranchaMOBILE #BallonDor pic.twitter.com/0PyoCwITD4
— Los Blancos Live (@TheBlancosLive) October 18, 2022
The official Real Madrid social media account, along with adidas, also made sure to point out Benzema’s sacrifice to his team.
Todo lo que toca…
¡@Benzema, nuevo #BallondOr 2022! 👑@adidasfootball | #ImpossibleIsNothing pic.twitter.com/uLZDOnplDg
— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadrid) October 17, 2022