Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema is the overwhelming favorite to take home the prestigious award this year after an extraordinary season with Los Blancos, which he won on Saturday after his side beat Liverpool in the Champions League final, a fifth. Champions League for Benzema and a record that extends to the 14th. for the club.
Real Madrid went out in the lead despite Liverpool having more chances and more possession, a goal by Vinicius Junior in the 59th minute proved to be the winning goal. Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was in sparkling form when he repeatedly denied Liverpool to keep his side ahead. A truly wonderful performance by the masters of this competition.
A new trophy that rewards collective and individual hard work. 🏆
Thanks to all the madridisti, the trophy is yours too ¡𝗛𝗔𝗟𝗔 𝗠𝗔𝗗𝗥𝗜𝗗! 🤍
– Karim Benzema (@Benzema) May 29, 2022
Benzema played a pivotal role in his team’s run in the Champions League, scoring major goals against the likes of Paris Saint Germain, Chelsea and Manchester City. He finished as the tournament’s top scorer after scoring 15 goals, beating Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski, who scored 13.
Seven times winner of the Ballon d’Or, Lionel Messi has his say on the Frenchman’s chances of winning the award.
He told TyC Sports: “I think there is no doubt, it is very clear that Benzema had a spectacular year and ended up dedicating himself to the Champions League, being essential from the second round onwards in all matches.”
“I think there are no doubts this year.”
MESSI AND EL BALÓN DE ORO PARA BENZEMA
“Yo creo que no hay dudas, está clarísimo que Benzema hizo un año espectacular and ended consagrándose with the Champions League, it is fundamental to octavos hacia adelante en todos los partidos. Creo que no hay dudas este año”. #MessiEnTyCSports. pic.twitter.com/FNCx0za5vn
– TyC Sports (@TyCSports) May 30, 2022
It is difficult to dispute Benzema’s case, especially after scoring 44 goals in 46 appearances in all competitions with Real Madrid, also providing 15 assists.
Arsenal legend Thierry Henry also said Benzema is definitely the winner this year.
He said on CBS Sports after the final: “I only have one message for France Football. Close the Ballon d’Or voting immediately. Karim Benzema has already won it. Until we meet again.”
“Close the voting, Benzema won. Hi!”
Thierry Henry has a message for France Football about the Golden Ball. 👀 😂 pic.twitter.com/AyyDBDeV9p
– CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) May 28, 2022
Benzema 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 has really stepped up the task and has become the club’s star.
According to the latest odds, Benzema is clearly the favorite, with the likes of Sadio Mane, Kevin de Bruyne and Mo Salah the closest challengers.
But having won both La Liga and the Champions League, Benzema certainly already has a hand on the prize.
The Ballon d’Or is expected to be distributed later in the year.