Benzema joins Messi & Raul in exclusive Champions League goal club

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The Real Madrid striker has become just the third player to find the target in 14 successive seasons in Europe's elite club competition

Karim Benzema may have his detractors, but the Real Madrid striker has joined Lionel Messi and Raul in an exclusive Champions League goal club.

The Frenchman has faced plenty of questions throughout his career, with many having doubted his quality despite his remarkable level of consistency.

He has often been forced to operate in the shadow of more illustrious team-mates, with his transfer to Madrid seeing him arrive in the Spanish capital over the same summer as Cristiano Ronaldo.

While the Portuguese has moved on, Benzema is closing in on a decade of loyal service with the Blancos.

He has made over 420 appearances for Real and is now just two efforts short of 200 goals for the Liga giants.

The 198th strike of his spell in Madrid arrived against Viktoria Plzen on Tuesday, as he opened the scoring in a continental clash with just 11 minutes on the clock.

Benzema has now found the target in Champions League action in each of his 10 seasons in Spain, having previously notched in four successive campaigns for Lyon.

Only Barcelona icon Messi and Madrid legend Raul can claim to have emulated that achievement over the course of their illustrious playing careers.

Benzema recorded his first senior goal in the Champions League, on his debut in the competition against Rosenborg in December 2005.

He went on to record another 11 European goals for Lyon before earning himself a move to Madrid.

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While with the Blancos, Benzema has taken his haul of Champions League efforts to 57.

That return, which has helped him to four titles, is enough to have seen him edge past Ruud van Nistelrooy and into fourth place outright on the list of all-time leading scorers.

He is still 14 short of matching Raul on that chart, while Messi and eternal rival Ronaldo have both surged through the 100-goal mark.

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