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Why does Real Madrid’s Benzema always wear a bandage on his hand?

Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema has worn a bandage on his right hand ever since he suffered a finger injury in a 2019 game against Real Betis.

Update:
Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema has worn a bandage on his right hand ever since he suffered a finger injury in a 2019 game against Real Betis.
Michael ReganGetty

For more than three years, Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema has worn a bandage covering his right wrist and hand during games - a habit that stems from a finger injury he suffered in a challenge with Real Betis’ Marc Bartra.

Fractured little finger in Betis clash in 2019

It all began on 13 January 2019, during a 2-1 LaLiga win for Madrid away to Betis. As he attempted to break his fall after a coming-together with Bartra, Benzema fractured the little finger in his right hand. In evident pain, the Frenchman had to be substituted at half time, and missed Madrid’s next game, a Copa del Rey last-16 tie with Leganés.

But Benzema was able to face Sevilla at home in Madrid’s next league outing, and that day first sported his bandage. It appeared to bring him goalscoring luck, as he netted six times in the four games that followed, against Girona, Espanyol, Girona again and Alavés.

At the time, AS reported on how the splints necessary for these types of injuries are produced and fitted on the patient: they take just 20 minutes to make and cost around $40.

To avoid leaving Madrid without their key attacking player in the final months of the 2018/19 season, Benzema opted against undergoing surgery immediately after the injury. His presence couldn’t prevent Los Blancos from finishing up trophyless, though, after a campaign in which they had three full-time head coaches (Julen Lopetegui, Santiago Solari and Zinedine Zidane).

Until recently, it had remained unclear whether Benzema had since gone under the knife. The 34-year-old hadn’t publicly clarified this question, and there were rumours that he now wore his bandage out of superstition.

Benzema during Real Madrid's Champions League semi-final second leg against Manchester City.
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Benzema during Real Madrid's Champions League semi-final second leg against Manchester City.PressinphotoGetty

“I don’t have time to stop and have another operation”

Ahead of Madrid’s Champions League group-stage clash against Inter Milan in October 2021, however, he revealed he wears the bandage because he still needs it.

“I did have an operation, but when you have surgery you have to be out for two months,” Benzema said. “I’ve hurt [the finger] again, but I don’t have time to stop and have another operation, so I wear the bandage when I’m playing.”

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