Imagine being Karim Benzema against Man City on Tuesday night. Your team is trailing by 4-2 in a Uefa Champions League semifinal away game against one of the current best teams in the world. You are being booed consistently and targeted by a laser pen as you get set for a penalty just eight minutes away from the full-time whistle. What do you do? Do you get nervous and mishit the penalty or do you stay calm, convert the penalty with a cheeky 'Panenka' chip down the middle to keep your team alive in the tie? Well, Benzema did the latter, with such grace and composure that it felt so unreal for the moment.
Madrid did lose the game by 4-3 eventually, but that Panenka penalty gave the Los Blancos a lifeline to have a go and maybe seal the tie at their home ground.
It was a remarkable piece of skill, one that took nerves of steel considering Benzema had missed two penalties in Real Madrid's last game with Osasuna. Those failures did not appear to have dented Benzema's confidence.
"That's mental confidence and that's all. I have a lot of confidence in myself, so I do it and it turns out well," Benzema explained why he took such an audacious penalty kick.
This wasn't the only time Benzema did something like that in this season. He has been the clutch player every champion team needs during a campaign. And that Panenka chip was just the perfect reflection of his whole season.
After his two goals in Manchester, Benzema has now netted a staggering 41 goals in his 41 appearances this season. His most prolific club campaign prior to this season saw him score 32 times in 52 games in 2011/12. He is currently the topscorer of the ongoing UCL campaign, with 13 goals from 10 games to his name.
The Frenchman also netted 25 goals in 29 appearances in La Liga where Real Madrid are all but sure of becoming the champions. He also assisted 11 goals during that period.
Benzema single-handedly carried Real Madrid through the Champions League knockouts, becoming only the second footballer to score back-to-back hattricks in UCL knockout matches, when it matters the most.
As he scored the decisive goal in the quarter-final against Chelsea at the Bernabeu in the 96th minute, a commentator shouted "It had to be him!". And if you remember the hattrick against Paris Saint-Germain in the round of 16, out of absolute nowhere, making the best use of every single chance to turn the tie around just in a span of 15-20 minutes.
Benzema's Panenka left almost everyone in awe. Just like his season has made him a contender for the Ballon d'Or.
"After missing three penalties this month, all I can do is chuckle and think 'I cannot believe Karim Benzema has just done that'," Former footballer Alan Shearer didn't hold back praising the Frenchman.
"The sheer arrogance of it but also the belief and the ability to do that. He seems to be getting better and better. The sheer audacity! It was incredible."
The Frenchman's confidence is sky high and despite the defeat, Benzema sent a warning to Man City ahead of the return leg at Santiago Bernabeu.
"A defeat is never good," he told Spanish TV immediately after the match.
"We need the fans more than ever now, but we will do something magic, and win."
His striking partner Vinicius Junior has backed the Frenchman to win the Ballon d'Or following another fantastic Uefa Champions League performance and for his consistent performance throughout the season.
"There are no words that can describe how Benzema plays. He deserves the Ballon d'Or," he said.
"I hope my brother Benzema ends up winning La Liga, Champions League, and Ballon d'Or."