On 96 minutes, his header left Edouard Mendy grasping at thin air and Antonio Rudiger flat on his back, thereby ending the Blues’ chances of a spectacular aggregate recovery.
However, in a wonderful gesture of sportsmanship, Benzema requested the shirt from James, who fought courageously against the striker in both matchups.
Despite the lack of consolation following his team’s elimination, the 22-year-old took home Benzema’s jersey as a memento of the match.
The moment the red-hot hitman made a beeline for James at the final whistle, amid the cheers of his teammates and supporters, was caught on camera. Both players headed to the tunnel after Benzema handed back his shirt.
Chelsea appeared to be capable of pulling off an almost impossible achievement for long spells of the game, having gone into a three-goal lead to draw level overall.
Rodrygo, who had been brought on as a substitute for the stumbling hosts, came to their rescue late on with a clean shot at the far post after Luka Modric’s wonder-pass.
James and his teammates will now focus on their FA Cup semi-final against Crystal Palace this Saturday, with a place at Wembley and a chance at silverware on the line.