Lionel Messi has insisted that Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema is the favourite to win the prestigious Ballon d’Or award later this year and claimed that the Frenchman elevated himself in the Champions League. Benzema was instrumental for Madrid in securing the La Liga and Champions League crown.
Karim Benzema has established himself as one of the best strikers in European football since joining Real Madrid in 2009. The striker’s link-up play and adaptability has seen him survive several different playstyles and managers at the Spanish giants. The French striker who has scored 323 goals for the Spanish side across all competitions has taken his performances up a notch this season with his prolificacy and efficiency.
The 34-year-old has scored 44 goals and registered 15 assists across all competitions for the Blancos this season as they secured the La Liga title and the UEFA Champions League. Benzema’s talismanic displays have seen him be labelled the favourite to win the Ballon d’Or award this season
Lionel Messi who won the prestigious award this year extended his support to Benzema’s claim to the award.
"I think there are no doubts Benzema should win Ballon d'Or. It is very clear that Benzema had a spectacular year and ended up elevating 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 told TyC Sports.
The Paris Saint-Germain star who has endured a difficult debut campaign with the French giants also opened up the jeers he was subject to after their Champions League exit to Real Madrid in March.
"It was new for me, it's a different situation. It had never happened to me in Barcelona but quite the opposite. The situation of the people and the anger for the players we had, for the team we were and because another year [went without a Champions League title], the anger is understandable. The Real Madrid thing killed us. To me, to the entire dressing room in general, to all of Paris,” he added.