'He has it all ... he is the complete forward': Karim Benzema continues to stake claim to being world's best player

    Karim Benzema's second consecutive Champions League hat-trick gave Real Madrid one foot in the semifinals.

    (CNN)Even before Karim Benzema had sealed his hat-trick against Chelsea just 30 seconds into the second half on Wednesday, the adulation had already long been pouring in.

    The Frenchman's third goal, a gift from Blues keeper Edouard Mendy, was merely the icing on the cake for what had been a wondrous individual first-half performance.
    When Real Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti was asked about his striker's display in his postmatch press conference, the Italian made a point to refer to Benzema not as a striker, but as a "complete player."
      It would certainly be fairly easy to make a case for Benzema now being the most complete forward in world football -- and his first goal against Chelsea, truly a thing of beauty, can be used as evidence.
        After dropping deep, Benzema twice received the ball near the halfway line before playing an inch-perfect, first-time pass with the outside of his boot, threaded between two Chelsea defenders, into the path of Vinícius Jr.
        Benzema then made a lung-busting run into the area and planted his header -- almost from the edge of the box -- from Vinícius' cross right into the top corner. As all-around goals go, you will unlikely see a better one in the Champions League this season.
          Karim Benzema celebrates after scoring Real Madrid's opening goal against Chelsea.
          "If you talk about decisive footballers, there aren't many who can touch him," Alan Feehely, editor of Football España, told CNN Sport. "He has it all. He is the complete forward. He's a number 10 and a number nine ... he's just a phenomenon.
          "And if Madrid do go all the way in the Champions League this season, as is possible -- if not likely -- then I think that we'll look at Benzema and we'll reevaluate how we see him because I think he would have proven himself to be one of the most elite, world class forwards of the modern game, as opposed to kind of how we see him right now, which is as a very, very good footballer.
          "I think if he could continue this pace, we'll look back at him as one of the greats."
          If it was the power in Benzema's first header that got the better of Mendy, then it was the precision of his second that did the same; running and leaning backwards, Benzema strained every sinew to guide Luka Modrić's cross back across goal and into the only part of the net that Mendy was unable to reach.
          Despite his goals and accolades, Benzema has undoubtedly been one of the most underrated strikers, if not players, in Europe over the past decade. Many people have pointed to the deferred role he played to Cristiano Ronaldo during their nine years together in Madrid, but Feehely says this is an "over-simplistic" view on Benzema's development.
          "I think that he has matured as a person," he says. "I think that in the last few seasons, he's really become focused and as a lot of players do when they get to their 30s, they can realize that time is finite, that there's not much more time time left at the top level and they revolutionize how they approach their fitness, their diet, their off-field behavior and I think that Karim is an example of that.