Karim Benzema favourite to win 2022 Ballon d'Or? Ex-Barcelona midfielder picks Real Madrid star for prestigious honour

  • Champions League: Benzema is currently at the peak of his powers and his presence will be crucial in the second-leg game against Manchester City at the Bernabeu
 Real Madrid's Karim Benzema celebrates after scoring against Manchester City(AP)
 Real Madrid's Karim Benzema celebrates after scoring against Manchester City(AP)
Published on Apr 30, 2022 11:14 AM IST
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ByAmeya Barve, New Delhi

"Since I was little, I have had the dream of winning the Ballon d'Or, which is the dream that all footballers have"

Weeks before celebrating his 34th birthday last year, Karim Benzema said he wanted to win the Ballon d'Or title. He was on the 30-man shortlist alongside his Real Madrid teammate Luka Modric. He even returned to the national team for the European Championships following a five-year hiatus and netted four goals in as many games.

Also Read | Champions League: City win thriller but Real Madrid far from being out of it

The Frenchman's life has significantly changed in the past few months. This year, Benzema, who seems to have found goal-scoring mojo rather than just being involved in the build-up play, has 41 goals in 41 games overall. He leads the La Liga panel with 25 goals, and has scored eight times in the Champions League knockout rounds, including two against Manchester City on Tuesday.

Benzema, 34, is currently living in a world of his own and appears favourite to claim the Ballon d'Or later this year. He is competing with the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Mohamed Salah and Robert Lewandowski but the Real Madrid forward is a notch above the competition. Madrid have been playing like a champion-in-waiting for several weeks and they could wrap up the Spanish league title this weekend, and a record 14th Champions League title is also in the pipeline.

Benzema is at the peak of his powers and his presence will be crucial in the second-leg game against City at the Bernabeu. But can he manage to shake off the Manchester giants and inch closer to one more trophy in Madrid colours?

"He is currently being given a lot of chances. The probability of him winning it is huge at the moment. Collective titles are important for winning the Ballon d'Or trophy but if you ask me about the player who deserves it the most nowadays, Karim Benzema is the one," former Barcelona midfielder Jofre Mateu told Hindustan Times.

Benzema, who has rekindled his Ballon d'Or aspirations with a magical spell this year, produced a cheeky "Panenka" in the first leg. He needs to overturn a one-goal deficit to help Madrid keep their European title hopes alive.

Mateu further predicted an all-English final in Paris but didn't rule out a Madrid comeback. Benzema scored hat-tricks against both Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea in the past two rounds as Los Blancos staged a return in the second leg and reached the last four for the 30th time. But Mateu believes Madrid forwards will have their task cut out against the blues, who won't allow the opposition to score many goals from open play.

"If you ask me, the best final will be the British final... They are the best teams if you consider their football show and how passionate they could be. But Madrid can of course do it again... it's just one goal and we have seen them doing it. It's going to be tough against Manchester City as any team's chances to score an open goal are less against the English side. Just one goal in Bernabeu won't be enough," he further added.

Watch UEFA Champions League 2021-22 (Semi Final Leg 2) - Villarreal vs. Liverpool LIVE on SONY TEN 2 (English), SONY TEN 3 (Hindi) & SONY TEN 4 (Tamil & Telugu) channels on 4th May 2022, from 12:30 am IST.

Watch UEFA Champions League 2021-22 (Semi Final Leg 2) - Real Madrid vs. Man. City LIVE on SONY TEN 2 (English), SONY TEN 3 (Hindi) & SONY TEN 4 (Tamil & Telugu) channels on 5th May 2022, from 12:30 am IST.

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