Milestone man Benzema takes full advantage of PSG meltdown
Karim Benzema was Real Madrid's hero as he scored a hat-trick to send his team into the Champions League quarter-finals with a 3-1 win over Paris St Germain on Wednesday.
The France striker enjoyed a stellar evening at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium, leading the record 13-times European champions into the last eight and reaching a few milestones of his own.
At the age of 34 years and 80 days, Benzema became the oldest player to score a hat-trick in the Champions League, taking the record from his French compatriot Olivier Giroud.
Benzema was making his 500th start for Real Madrid in all competitions, becoming only the second foreign player to reach that mark after Roberto Carlos (524).
He has now netted 309 goals for the Spanish side, surpassing Alfredo di Stefano to become the club's third top scorer after Cristiano Ronaldo (450) and Raul Gonzalez (323).
Benzema was already Real's second highest scorer in the Champions League with 67, behind Ronaldo on 105.
There was little sign of a successful evening for Benzema as Real, trailing 1-0 from the first leg in Paris, fell further behind when Kylian Mbappe scored for PSG before halftime.
The French side should have extended their lead before the game turned following a bad error from PSG keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma.The Italy international mishandled the ball inside the area and gifted it to Benzema who scored.
Luka Modric then found Benzema completely free inside the box behind a distracted defense and he had time to look up and pick his spot.
Just 106 seconds later and with PSG in full panic mode, defender Marquinhos gifted the ball to Benzema on the edge of the box and he gratefully accepted the opportunity to seal a 3-2 aggregate victory for Real.
"Real Madrid is alive and we showed how we can win against anyone," Benzema told reporters.
"The comeback came due to a matter of mental strength. I'm really honored to be part of this legendary club and now we move forward."