The Real Madrid star opened up about his new signing, about his close ties with the Emirati city.
During his almost 20-year career as a professional footballer, Karim Benzema has had a lot to celebrate. There were four Ligue 1 titles between 2004 and 2009 in Lyon. Period during which the young striker that he was became a figurehead. There are the five Champions Leagues won at Real Madrid and the trophy cabinets full of La Ligas and Copa del Reys. And then, more recently, there was the Ballon d’Or. Of course there was. The one he’s been waiting for.
In a career filled with individual and collective glory, Karim Benzema has had much to celebrate.
Now, and confiding exclusively GOAL As part of the Where the World Celebrates campaign, Karim has a whole new way to celebrate. An iconic celebration for an iconic footballer.
Here is the… Benzayala
“The inspiration came from the famous ‘Ayala’,” Karim told us. “A traditional cultural dance performed by Emiratis during particular celebrations”.
“To celebrate my involvement in the Where the World Celebrates campaign, the Benzayala is a combination of my family name and this traditional dance, with my own twist.”
An important and ancient part of Emirati culture, this dance is performed by adults and children at celebrations such as weddings and national holidays, and features performers holding thin bamboo canes and moving in steady rhythm of the drum.
Reflecting the heritage of Emirati culture, the dance is a symbol of tradition and identity for a region for which Benzema has great respect and love.
“I love the excitement and energy of Dubai,” replies Karim when asked about his strong connection to the city. “It’s a truly global city where people from all over the world contribute a positive vibe. There’s nothing quite like it.”
“Each time I visit, there is something new to discover – Dubai never stops innovating and bringing new experiences to its residents and visitors. No matter your interests – there is always something awesome thing for you here. I love being here, and so do my kids.”
As for those experiences… Karim told us about his ideal day in Dubai.
“My perfect day in Dubai would be to relax by the beach or in the desert, have a few adventures on the water or on land, and recharge my batteries with a very good meal. The hospitality of the Emiratis is world class. In the Al Fahidi historical district, there is a place called “Sheikh Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding”, where you can enjoy an authentic meal offered by Emirati people who answer all your cultural questions. It is a must visit. There is also the Museum of the Future, which offers you a real journey into the future, into the natural environment and into the new technologies that we can expect, all of this is inside what I consider to be one of the most beautiful buildings in the world”.
With the arrival of the biggest football tournament on the planet to the Middle East on Sunday November 20, the bright and intense spotlight of football will be shone on the region for the first time in its history.
“This is a milestone in the history of football, so it’s very exciting to be part of the action. The Middle East region has very enthusiastic football fans, I feel that every time I visit it. I think the location is strategic for fans from all over the world to attend the event.”
The World Cup is a true celebration of football, which has given the beautiful game some of its most memorable moments…and celebrations.
Who could forget the celebration of Brazilian Bebeto, who ‘rocked the baby’ after scoring against the Netherlands in 1994? Or Roger Milla’s corner flag dance after scoring for Cameroon in 1990?
With the 2022 World Cup kicking off in less than a month, we can expect to see some brand new celebrations added to this icon roster.