Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema is the overwhelming favourite to take home the prestigious award this year after a stunning season with Los Blancos, capped on Saturday after his side beat Liverpool in the Champions League final, a fifth Champions League for Benzema and a record extending 14th for the club.
Madrid came out on top despite Liverpool having more chances and more ball possession, a goal from Vinicius Junior in the 59th minute turned out to be the winning goal. Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was in scintillating form as he denied Liverpool time after time to keep his side ahead. A truly wonderful performance from the masters of this competition.
A new trophy that rewards a hard collective and individual work. 🏆— Karim Benzema (@Benzema) May 29, 2022
Thanks to all Madridistas, the trophy is also yours ¡ 𝗛𝗔𝗟𝗔 𝗠𝗔𝗗𝗥𝗜𝗗! 🤍
𝘊’𝘦𝘴𝘵 𝘮𝘰𝘯 𝘩𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘪𝘳𝘦… ⚔️ Al hamdulillah 🤲🏼❤️#Nueve #HalaMadrid #CHAMP14NS #UCL pic.twitter.com/v9WqLBhcFl
Benzema played a vital role in his side’s Champions League run, scoring important goals against the likes of Paris Saint Germain, Chelsea and Manchester City. He finished as the top scorer in the tournament after netting 15 goals, beating Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski, who scored 13.
Seven times winner of the Ballon d’Or, Lionel Messi has had his say on the Frenchman’s chances of winning the award.
He told TyC Sports: "I think there are no doubts, it is very clear that Benzema had a spectacular year and ended up consecrating himself with the Champions League, being essential from the last 16 onwards in all the games.”
“I think there are no doubts this year.”
MESSI Y EL BALÓN DE ORO PARA BENZEMA— TyC Sports (@TyCSports) May 30, 2022
"Yo creo que no hay dudas, está clarísimo que Benzema hizo un año espectacular y terminó consagrándose con la Champions, siendo fundamental de octavos hacia adelante en todos los partidos. Creo que no hay dudas este año". #MessiEnTyCSports. pic.twitter.com/FNCx0za5vn
It is hard to argue against Benzema’s case, especially after scoring 44 goals in 46 appearances in all competitions for Madrid, also providing 15 assists.
Arsenal legend, Thierry Henry also said that Benzema is definitely the winner this year.
He said on CBS Sports after the final: “I have just one message to France Football. Close the Ballon d’Or voting process now. Karim Benzema has already won it. Goodbye.”
"Close the votes, Benzema won it. Bye!"— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) May 28, 2022
Thierry Henry has a message for France Football on the Ballon d'Or. 👀 😂 pic.twitter.com/AyyDBDeV9p
Benzema has often found himself in the shadow of Cristiano Ronaldo when the Portuguese was the main man during his time in Madrid. But since his departure, Benzema truly stepped up to the task and became the club’s star man.
According to the latest odds, Benzema is the clear favourite, with the likes of Sadio Mane, Kevin de Bruyne and Mo Salah the closest challengers.
But after winning both the La Liga and the Champions League, Benzema surely has one hand on the award already.
The Ballon d'Or is due to be handed out later on in the year.
Featured Image Credit: Alamy/TyC Sports
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