It is the main scenario of a remarkable night of Champions League football at Stamford Bridge, while real Madrid great became only the second player to score hat-tricks in the competition in successive knockout matches.
The only other player to do so was the player he backed in Cristiano Ronaldo, who himself symbolizes just how much Benzema now takes center stage, at the age of 34.
Such history calls have lent an element of foreboding to Chelsea’s future that goes far beyond their future in this season’s competition following a 3-1 home defeat.
There is at least some doubt as to whether the club can quite be the same force as it was in the days of Roman Abramovich, as potential new owner Todd Boehly watched from the stands.
There was also an element of history there, as many could point out how Russia’s first Champions League experience was seeing a Real Madrid star score a hat-trick in England. Many others might point to the fact that they simply won’t have the same financial power, which added an extra edge to this game.
There was certainly even more of a feeling that the events of the past month are finally coming to the team, as that 3-1 home loss quickly followed a 4-1 blow to Brentford on the same ground.
While Chelsea were embarrassed on Saturday, it was more of a big rise to new levels.
This is why Benzema’s career has been almost as special as it has been distinguished. It went through three main stages. The first was like Wonder Kid. The second was an act of selfless support. The third, now, is as a grandmaster where his very experience seemed to offer him a greater level of excellence.
Chelsea couldn’t reach their level here.
This made his excellent first goal somewhat ironic, as he actually had to go low to get the connection. With Vinicius Junior providing another whipped delivery of another frantic forward thrust, Benzema somehow leaned in to almost deflect the ball – albeit with some power – past Edouard Mendy.
Chelsea still remembered themselves when the big Madrid stars had just come through them again. It was a lot harder than it looks, however, as the second goal was a showpiece to go along with the historic feat of that hat-trick.
As Benzema darted between the Chelsea defenders again to deceptively create space, the ball was brought back to Luka Modric on the edge of the box. He went for a marvelous first-time ball that had the most inviting arc, but suddenly looked a bit too high for Benzema. There was no problem, however. There were only the highest class.
Benzema simply arched to guide this one into the bottom corner.
Two very different headers, both of the highest class.
Chelsea, for their part, were not shaken. At least not yet. Continuing the frantic pace of the game, they succeeded again.
It wasn’t long before they had a fine header from a classy player, although it required a step forward from someone else.
Jorginho had a torrid game, as if the pace was too much for him, as Madrid seemed to constantly overshoot his zone. Here he offered the required balance. The Italian offered a cross which itself was almost equal to Modric’s.
If it was tricky, Havertz’s response was pure power. He tossed a header into the hands of Thibaut Courtois, the way to the goal all the sweeter considering how the keeper left Stamford Bridge.
The local public kept reminding him of this in the most vulgar terms – and the most direct, through the righteousness of a song (“Thibaut, Thibaut you are a…”) – almost all night long.
There was a moment when they were stunned into silence, however, and it was to that end by one of Courtois’ eventual successors.
With the pace not slackening early in the second half, there was a moment of respite when Casemiro just bundled a ball as Chelsea rushed to chase an equaliser.
Mendy seemed to have all the time in the world as he collected the ball near the center circle, only to play the most calamitous pass. Antonio Rudiger was not at full alert, and that allowed Benzema to sneak in for a fortuitous hat-trick.
It was something we had seen before from the French star, especially during his last hat-trick.
He did it at Liverpool in the 2018 Champions League final. He did it at Paris Saint-Germain in the Round of 16.
It at least saw the game fall into a discernible pattern, probably for the first time. Madrid sat on their lead, fully satisfied – and able – to beat their pace. Chelsea threw everything at them.
They even cast Romelu Lukaku.
His poor form was put into even more perspective, as he missed a header that was a much easier opportunity than any of those scored on the night. With the ball practically falling over his head and Courtois seemingly rooted in his place, Lukaku kind of brushed him off.
Such opportunities served as a reminder that Chelsea were yet to exit. There are no away goals, they are clearly capable of creating so many chances at the Bernabeu.
Madrid still look a bit more vulnerable. It might have been a different story had it not been for some entirely self-imposed mistakes, such as Mendy’s pass and Lukaku’s failure. That could have ensured it was 2-2. Benzema is a player who currently doesn’t deal with ‘could’ or ‘if’, however.
Il Benzema looks better than ever.
It might not just tell the story of those tours. He could well make it his season.
Chelsea vs Real Madrid result: Champions League final score, goals and report
Source link Chelsea vs Real Madrid result: Champions League final score, goals and report