Few people would have imagined that Karim Benzema would surpass both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in Spanish football, but the Frenchman has turned out to be the nation’s best player.
Now the 34-year-old Frenchman could be about to win an accolade that was previously contested by only Messi and Ronaldo.
Or at least he ought to be, in Messi’s opinion. When asked who should win the Ballon d’Or this year in an interview with TyC Sports, Messi suggested that Benzema deserves the accolade.
“I think this year there are no questions; it is obvious that Benzema had a fantastic year,” Lionel Messi said.
In the 2021-2022 season, Benzema carried Real Madrid on his Shoulders to win the Champions League title, playing a crucial role in each game starting in the Round of 16. From all indications, it will be the stunner of a lifetime if Benzema is not named 2022 Ballon d’Or winner.
Along with his accomplishments in the Champions League, Benzema was unquestionably the finest player in La Liga last season.
In 46 games across all leagues, Benzema recorded 44 goals and 15 assists. Beyond the numbers, though, Benzema’s contribution to the amount of outstanding technical goals was amazing. Many of those also had unequal effects on the outcome of the season for Real Madrid.
Real Madrid lost 1-0 to Messi’s Paris Saint-Germain and 4-0 to his old team Barcelona in the pivotal games they played without Karim Benzema, demonstrating exactly how much the Frenchman contributed to Madrid’s success.
For the first time since 2005, neither Lionel Messi, the seven-time champion, nor Neymar, a teammate at Paris Saint-Germain, were nominated for this year’s Ballon d’Or.
Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United, Erling Haaland of Manchester City, who recently joined the club from Borussia Dortmund, and Mohamed Salah of Liverpool, who was the Premier League’s top scorer last season, are the other nominees.
Ada Hegerberg of Lyon, who took home the first women’s Ballon d’Or in 2018, and Alexia Putellas of Barcelona are two of the 20 players on the women shortlist.
The Arsenal striker Beth Mead, who last month won the women European Championship with the host nation England and was named the tournament’s Player of the Year, is also up for the award.
On October 17, the award for the world’s top player will be given. Instead of a calendar year, the trophy will now be given out based on a regular season that runs from August to July.
While Kylian Mbappe’s connection with certain Real Madrid supporters may have soured over the summer, the Paris Saint-Germain star still maintains a close friendship with Karim Benzema.
Both Mbappe and Benzema have received Ballon d’Or nominations for this year. Mbappe, however, believes that his fellow countryman deserves to win it this year.
Mbappe did mention that he aspired to win one at PSG in an interview with L’Equipe, with words from him appearing in Mundo Deportivo.
“Real, you have to admit, is a Ballon d’Or machine. True expertise exists, but the playing field is where it all counts. Your Ballon d’Or success comes from you, not your club. I remain confident that I will be able to win it in Paris one day”, Mbappe said.