The change of format in the delivery of the Ballon d’Or opens the door to an award for Karim Benzema, author of the best season of his career and favorite to consecration after his new masterful performance at Chelsea-Real that follows many others.
Lionel Messi celebrates his seventh Ballon d’Or for only four months, but the name of his possible successor is already hogging the spotlight. As football is moved by the emotions and culture of the moment, Karim Benzema is propelled this Thursday as the new favorite for the highest individual award. Except that the Real striker is not lightning, he shines with the passage of time. Better, he “improves like good wine”, according to Carlo Ancelotti. At 34 years old, the French international signs the best season of his career. The figures confirm it since he had never reached so many goals in a season. He has 37 in 36 games in a season that is far from over.
Benzema wants it, Fernando and the fans promise it
Fourth in 2021, Benzema makes no secret of his goal of reaching the holy grail. “It’s a goal,” admitted the French international in an interview with The team. Especially since last year he wasn’t very far away, but he hadn’t won a trophy (at the club). I’m having a very good season there. The Ballon d’Or is a motivation, but not only personal. I include the team. Because if I manage to lead my team to win trophies, there will necessarily be individual awards behind.”
The change of format in the delivery of the Ballon d’Or could help him in his journey. From now on, the winner will be chosen during a season, and no longer during a calendar year. Benzema clearly has something to play for as Real lead La Liga by 12 points over second-placed Barça (who have one game in hand) and look set to reach the semi-finals of the La Liga champions. League. That gives him an advantage over his compatriot Kylian Mbappé, stratospheric with PSG but eliminated in the knockout stages of the Champions League. The competition will be tough with Robert Lewandowski, very disappointed with the last vote and an impressive goalscoring machine (45 goals in 39 games).
But the Frenchman presents something else: a kind of romanticism in his way of conceiving football, of collecting to build actions. The next Ballon d’Or will not take into account the 2022 Qatar World Cup, scheduled for November-December. So there are still two months of competition left to make a difference. A new coronation of the Real in the Champions League would lay out the red carpet for him. Otherwise, the club will use its lobbying art to cover its players with gold. The El Chiringuito program launched a query on Twitter on Wednesday night and the result is clear: Benzema collected 80% of the 55,000 votes as the player most deserving of the Ballon d’Or, well ahead of Robert Lewandowski (9%). Kylian Mbappe (7.4). %) and Mohammed Salah (3.4%).
“He’s the best number 9 on the planet for me,” launched Rio Ferdinand, a former Manchester United defender now a consultant for BT Sport. We can talk about Lewandowski, a great player. Harry Kane returned to this form that we all knew, great. player. This guy (Benzema) at this moment is on another level. He is phenomenal, he impacts the game in many different areas, not just goals, assists, play links and slowing down in the game. He looks like a midfielder, but he is a number 9 who has scored 37 goals.”
“Karim Benzema, if they don’t engrave his name on the Ballon d’Or at the end of the season, I’d be surprised. He was magical, magnificent with a hat-trick against PSG and then another against Chelsea. This man makes the difference.”