Why Karim Benzema wears a bandage on his right hand

Real Madrid's Karim Benzema celebrates after winning the 2022 Ballon d'Or trophy during the 66th Ballon d'Or ceremony at Theatre du Chatelet in Paris, France, Monday, Oct. 17, 2022. [AP Photo/Francois Mori]

By now, you already know Karim Benzema was crowned 'World's Best Footballer' after winning the men's Ballon d'Or for the first time.

Held on Monday, October 17, 2022, some of the world's most popular sportspersons dropped their usual gear and graced the red carpet at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris.

Benzema, channelled his inner Tupac Shakur, donning a black suit, similar to the one the rapper wore to the American Music Awards in 1996, months before his demise.

Described by GQ magazine as a "shawl-lapelled tuxedo", the 34-year-old put on a white buttoned-up shirt, adorned it with a choker-like neck accessory and complemented his look with a pair of classy glasses.

What was missing on the Frenchman though, was the custom bandage on his right hand.

Benzema has been taping up his right hand since January 2019, following a challenge with Real Betis defender Marc Bartra, leaving him with a fractured little finger.

Real Madrid's Karim Benzema, centre, controls the ball as Villareal's Javi Ontiveros, right, tries to stop him during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Real Madrid and Villareal at the Alfredo di Stefano stadium in Madrid, Spain, Thursday, July 16, 2020. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

The striker would have had his finger operated on immediately but opted to have surgery at the end of the season, to avoid risking four months on the sidelines.

The surgery was successful, and Benzema is said to have hastened his rehabilitation not allowing enough time for healing after the operation. He hurt his hand again and has been wearing a bandage ever since.

The bandage, however, looked to be a stroke of luck for Benzema, as he scored six times in the next four games. He was core to Madrid's winning run in the 2021/22 Champions League and Spanish League season.

The Real Madrid man last year told reporters he had no time for another operation and still needed to wear the bandage.

At Real Madrid, the 'bandage tradition' lives on through Benzema, as was during the playing days of the club's greats like Chendo and Jose Antonio Camacho.

Benzema joined Madrid from Olympique Lyon in 2009 at the age of 21 and is now the first Frenchman to win the coveted Ballon d'Or since Zinedine Zidane in 1998.

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