When Sheikh Hamdan met Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema in Dubai

The 34-year-old Real Madrid star has a deep connection with the Middle East and Dubai, having spent a considerable amount of time here in the region

by

James Jose

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Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Karim Benzema. — Twitter
Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Karim Benzema. — Twitter

Published: Tue 18 Oct 2022, 8:54 PM

Last updated: Tue 18 Oct 2022, 9:16 PM

As Karim Benzema basked in the glory of winning the prestigious Ballon d’Or, football fans in the Middle East and Dubai, in particular, raised a toast to the Frenchman.

The 34-year-old Real Madrid star has a deep connection with the Middle East and Dubai, having spent a considerable amount of time here in the region.


Benzema enjoys the Dubai skyline. — Dubai Media Office Twitter
Benzema enjoys the Dubai skyline. — Dubai Media Office Twitter

Benzema, who is of Algerian descent, is a devout Muslim and had visited Saudi Arabia in 2016 and performed Umrah at Makkah.

Karim Benzema. — Twitter
Karim Benzema. — Twitter

Benzema, who has won a jaw-dropping 23 trophies with the Los Blancos, including four La Liga, two Copa del Rey and five Champions League titles, is also a frequent visitor to Dubai, where he holidays during the off season and has also met Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai.


During his stay in Dubai, Benzema has also supported various social and community initiatives. In 2020, when Covid was at its peak, rallied everyone in the UAE and all Muslims around the world to stay safe during the pandemic and urged them to take care of their loved ones.

"Salaam Alaikum, it's Karim Benzema," the striker, wearing the Arabic kandura, had said back then, in a video message, as part of the Dubai Sports Council (DSC) 'Be Fit, Be Safe' campaign.

Karim Benzema during the 'Be Fit, Be Safe' campaign. — Screengrab
Karim Benzema during the 'Be Fit, Be Safe' campaign. — Screengrab

Benzema, who is a practicing Muslim and observes fasting during the Holy Month of Ramadan, added: "I have a message to all my friends in the UAE and to all the Muslims around the world during this month of Ramadan. This period has been difficult for everyone due to the coronavirus. So, we need to continue to help each other during this crisis. Stay safe and take care of you and your loved ones. May God bless everyone. Love."

The same year, Benzema was also presented the ‘First Line of Defence Medal’ by the Dubai Sports Council. He was honoured with the medal in appreciation of his efforts to support the community initiatives launched by DSC during the 'Be Fit, Be Safe' campaign.

Benzema with the ‘First Line of Defence Medal.’ — Twitter
Benzema with the ‘First Line of Defence Medal.’ — Twitter

Back in 2015, Benzema enjoyed the adrenaline rush and the views while going skydiving at Skydive Dubai. There have been various sightings of the star at Dubai’s popular landmarks.

Benzema while skydiving in Dubai. — Twitter
Benzema while skydiving in Dubai. — Twitter

And in April this year, Benzema and UAE women’s team player Nouf Alanzi showcased the 2022 World Cup official match ball — Al-Rihla. An image of him with the match ball was projected on the Burj Khalifa.

Benzema with Al Rihla, the official match ball of the 2022 World Cup to be held in Qatar. — Twitter
Benzema with Al Rihla, the official match ball of the 2022 World Cup to be held in Qatar. — Twitter

“The World Cup ball is the start of everything, the start of new beginnings, new possibilities and new memories. This is Al-Rihla, inspired by the Arab world,” Benzema had said.

In July, the Frenchman had visited the Dubai Police Officers’ Club, with his son. He met his fans and signed T-shirts and took photos.

Benzema poses in front of a Dubai Police car. — Dubai Media Office Twitter
Benzema poses in front of a Dubai Police car. — Dubai Media Office Twitter

In June 2017, Benzema had attended the Nad Al Sheba Sports Tournament and had posed in front of a Dubai Police car.


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