Benzema capped the best season of his career by winning his fifth Champions League medal after Madrid beat Liverpool 1-0 in Saturday’s final in Paris.
He became the competition’s top scorer with 15 goals and also won the Pichichi (La Liga Golden Boot) after scoring 27 times in Los Blancos’ title-winning campaign.
Even before the final, the France international was considered a favorite for the Ballon d’Or, the prestigious trophy for the best footballer of the year, and the 34-year-old is all but certain.
That’s a view shared by Messi, who said so TyC Sports: “I think this year there is no doubt.
“It is very clear that Benzema has had a spectacular year, eventually turning his attention to the Champions League, which has been crucial in all games from the last 16.”
It may surprise some that Messi, who has won a record seven Ballon d’Ors, would choose Benzema given the former’s close relationship with Madrid’s arch-rivals Barcelona, but his arguments are more than justified.
During the knockout stages, Benzema was on hand several times to save his side, scoring hat-tricks against PSG in the round of 16 and Chelsea in the quarters, before scoring the crucial penalty against Manchester City in the semis.
A nine-time contestant, Benzema has never won the Ballon d’Or. Last year he came closest when he finished fourth behind Messi, Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski and Chelsea midfielder Jorginho.
Despite his incredible goalscoring streak over the past decade and before, like many others, he has often been overshadowed by then-Real team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo, with the Portuguese striker, or Messi, winning the accolade every year since 2008 save for Luka’s triumph Modric in 2018.
The 2022 Ballon d’Or ceremony takes place at the end of the year, where Benzema’s main rivals are likely to be Liverpool wingers Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/05/30/lionel-messi-says-karim-benzema-should-win-the-2022-ballon-dor-16738721/ Lionel Messi says Karim Benzema should win 2022 Ballon d'Or | Soccer