The Frenchman has enjoyed a stellar season for club and country.
The Ballon d’Or is an annual football award presented to the best player of the season every year since 1956. Lionel Messi has won the most Ballon d’Or titles in football history (7). Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have together dominated the award, with them being the sole winners from 2009 to 2018. Karim Benzema has performed consistently for Real Madrid over the years, but the presence of Ronaldo and Gareth Bale always shadowed him. Ever since Ronaldo’s departure and Bale’s dip in form, Benzema’s performances have gone up a notch, especially this season.
Here are 5 reasons why Karim Benzema should win the Ballon d’Or.
5. Nations League success
Benzema has not played for France since 2015 in the wake of a blackmailing scandal. But he returned to the French side just before the EURO 2020 after a six-year absence after the allegations were dropped against him. Upon his return, Les Bleus were making great progress, but succumbed to a bitter defeat against Switzerland at the Euros. However, this wasn’t the end of Benzema for his national side.
Benzema and the France national team claimed their first-ever UEFA Nations League title recently. The striker came on in a clutch situation against Belgium in the semi-finals and also against Spain in the final. Both Benzema and Kylian Mbappe scored a goal each in the games.
4. Supercopa De España
Real Madrid’s first trophy of the 2021/22 season was the Supercopa De Espana or Spanish Super Cup. Madrid faced FC Barcelona in the semi-finals, which was surprisingly a tough match. Barcelona went into the game on a four-match losing streak against Real Madrid. But, the situation was different in the Super Cup.
Benzema scored the second goal in the semifinal and it seemed to be the winning goal, but Barcelona recovered. Barca scored two goals late on to take the match to extra-time, ultimately losing the contest. After a difficult test against Barcelona, Real Madrid made no mistake against Athletic Bilbao in the final. Karim Benzema scored a penalty in the final and Madrid lifted their 12th Spanish Super Cup.
3. Winner of Pichichi and UCL Golden Boot
After Messi’s sad and forced departure from La Liga. His reign of dominance finally ended and Benzema took proper advantage of the opportunity presented to him. He scored 27 goals and recorded 12 assists in 32 La Liga appearances last season. A staggering total goal contribution of 39 won him the Pichichi.
Benzema is setting records in the Champions League as well. The French striker won the Champions League Golden Boot this term. He finished second and level with Lionel Messi for most goals scored in a single UCL campaign (15). Ronaldo is in the top spot with 17 goals in a single campaign.
2. La Liga Triumph
Benzema was yet again at the helm to lead Real Madrid to their record 35th La Liga title. Karim and Vinícius Jr. formed a deadly attacking duo last season to outmatch every opponent. The Frenchman not only scored consistently throughout the season, but also when it was most needed.
Midway through the season, Real Madrid were facing an injury crisis and a COVID-19 outbreak in their camp. This ruled out the likes of Dani Ceballos, Dani Carvajal, Isco, Luka Modric, Gareth Bale and Casemiro. Benzema and the remaining team were required to play with seven Castilla players, but they pulled through. Benzema scored two goals against Athletic Bilbao, which gave them breathing space at the top of the table.
1. Clutch performances in UCL
Karim Benzema and Real Madrid are the perfect examples of flourishing at clutch moments. Real Madrid faced PSG, Chelsea and Manchester City on their road to the Champions League final. Despite getting dominated, the squad pulled through, especially Benzema, who scored back-to-back hat-tricks.
Karim is one of the few players to score hat-tricks in consecutive matches. He scored a hat-trick against both PSG and Chelsea. Benzema then scored two goals against City in the first leg and the winning penalty against them in extra time. Despite not scoring in the final, his presence laid the foundation for his team to succeed.