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Real Madrid striker Benzema clocked at high speed, could lose driver's license

By Al Goodman, CNN
updated 8:48 AM EST, Thu February 28, 2013
Karim Benzema signed for Real Madrid from French team Lyon in 2009.
Karim Benzema signed for Real Madrid from French team Lyon in 2009.
  • Police say Karim Benzema was clocked at 216 kph in a 100-kph zone on a Madrid highway
  • Authorities did not immediately pursue Benzema because of safety concerns, police say
  • They say they tracked him down using the vehicle's license plate
  • He could lose his license for at least a year, be jailed or fined, or face community service

Madrid (CNN) -- He's fast on the football field but apparently even faster behind the wheel.

Real Madrid star striker Karim Benzema was clocked driving 216 kilometers per hour (about 134 mph) -- more than double the speed limit -- before dawn on February 3 on a Madrid highway, and he could lose his license for at least a year, a Traffic Directorate spokeswoman told CNN.

Civil Guard vehicles clocked and photographed the alleged speeding offense of Benzema in a 100 kph (62 mph) zone on the M40 ring road in western Madrid, said the spokeswoman, who by custom is not identified.

Benzema was driving an Audi. The company is an official sponsor of Real Madrid, and all players on the first team have an Audi at their disposal, a Real Madrid spokesman said.

The Civil Guard radar trap consisted of two sets of vehicles, one on the highway with a radar camera, which Benzema passed quickly, and a second down the road.

Authorities did not immediately pursue Benzema, because of darkness and safety concerns for other drivers. But they did get the license plate number and later tracked the vehicle to him, the traffic spokeswoman said.

The incident occurred hours after Real Madrid suffered an unexpected loss to Granada in a league match, on the evening of February 2.

Real Madrid would not comment on the incident other than to say that club policy lets the player directly handle a traffic violation.

Spanish media reported that Benzema, 25, a French international, made an initial appearance before an investigating magistrate Thursday.

The sanctions could include losing his driver's license for one to four years. In addition, he could receive up to six months in jail, a fine, or several weeks or months of community service, the traffic spokeswoman said.

Benzema did not play in Real Madrid's victory over archrivals FC Barcelona last Tuesday in the semifinals of Spain's Copa de Rey, or King's Cup, but the club spokesman said that was a decision of coach Jose Mourinho and was unrelated to the alleged traffic violation.

Some Spanish media reported that a second vehicle was speeding alongside Benzema's that night, but the traffic spokeswoman said Civil Guards are aware of only the vehicle that Benzema was driving.

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