Meet Real Madrid’s Algerian-French striker Karim Benzema in Vogue Man Arabia’s fall/winter 2019 issue.
Amidst flamenco dancers at the quaint Spanish restaurant of Villa Rosa in central Madrid, the striking footballer is ready for his cover shoot, and also ready to reveal a different side to what the public eye are used to. “I feel like fashion is a way to express myself,” says the Real Madrid forward, who happily donned head-to-toe leather and animal print for the story shot by photographer Gorka Postigo.
In his exclusive interview, Benzema talks honestly about his family, and how being a father of two helps him stay grounded. “My family inspires me,” he explains. “The values and morals my parents gave me helped me stay the same person.”
The Muslim athlete also credits his religion for keeping him on track, adding, “My faith helps me to be focused every day. It brings me benefits and it’s my strength for me, my family, as well as for my work – for literally everything.”
From his earliest memory of kicking a ball as an energetic four year old, to becoming a star player in the world’s top football club, Benzema interview sees him open up about his life experiences, including dealing with the negative headlines. He also cites football as a big influence throughout his life, offering him a form of escape. “I believe football saved me,” he says. “It was helping me to empty my mind and connect with myself. It helped me reach my objectives and gave me an incredible ambition to succeed.”
And, succeed he most certainly has with a boatload of team trophies, and recently becoming the seventh player to score 200 goals for Real Madrid. With former teammate Cristiano Ronaldo leaving Real Madrid for Juventus, Benzema’s game time has increased, and he’s paid back head coach Zinedine Zidane with (at the time of writing) five goals in six games. At 31 years old he is at the top of his game and shows no sign of slowing down.
Other highlights from Vogue Man Arabia’s fall/winter 2019 issue include: Saudi wrestler Mansoor Al-Shehail’s WWE journey; the best of the FW19 collections modeled by leading Middle Eastern men in the creative industry; an important conversation on the declining male fertility rates; our pick of the region’s top barbershops that offer a lot more than your usual cut and style; Syrian refugee chefs rebuilding their lives in their new hometowns through food; the Lebanese family that brought cinema to the Middle East; an interview with boxing legend George Foreman about his fight with Muhammad Ali on the 45th anniversary of Rumble in the Jungle.
Grab a copy of the issue along with Vogue Arabia’s October issue which is a special edition, collector’s issue paying homage to the late photographer Peter Lindbergh.