The race for the Ballon d’Or faces its last meters and Benzema has fully sneaked into the fight. His exuberant start to the 2021/2022 season and the achievement of the Nations League playing a pivotal role with France have greatly increased their chances of winning the highest individual prize out there.
On November 29, the winner will be known at a gala to be held in Paris, but the voting (carried out by journalists from all over the world) closes at dawn tomorrow so this weekend each of the candidates will have a last chance to shine. El Clásico will therefore be the best showcase for Karim to scratch a last minute vote. His problem is that, according to the bets, he is not among the favorites. Robert Lewandowski, Lionel Messi and Jorginho have a certain advantage over him. Cristiano and Mbappé also appear in the fight, although with fewer options.
The Camp Nou will be the judge. The challenge is that it is not a field that is particularly good for him. He has visited him 19 times since he arrived at Real Madrid in 2009. He has won five times and lost seven, plus six draws. Heading on goal, he has only scored three goals, although he has provided his team with four assists.
In total, he has scored ten times against his greatest rival in 36 games. However, in recent clashes between the two he has played a decisive role for the Whites, who have won the three games prior to Sunday.
Lewandowski and Messi, his rivals
His 35 goals and 14 assists in 2021 make him one of the players in Europe who has participated in the most goals this season. And his last weeks have highlighted him above the rest. In his last 11 games he has pierced the rival’s goal on 11 occasions and has distributed eight passes on goal. This season he participates in one every 51 minutes. Numbers that place him as the most influential striker on the continent above Haaland (every 52 minutes) and Lewandowski (every 58 minutes).
A dream. Benzema spoke for AS on October 9. When asked about the Ballon d’Or, he made it clear that it is one of the goals he wants to meet before retiring. “Since I was little I have the dream of winning the Ballon d’Or, which is the dream that all footballers have,” he commented in the interview. “Of course I am going to do everything possible and I am going to work as hard as possible to have that great trophy, to hopefully win it one day and fulfill that dream that I have had since I was a child”he insisted.
Hence, the forward’s motivation in recent months has been maximum. After many years as a supporting actor, Working in the shadow of Cristiano, he has taken the reins of Madrid with force and wants his performance to be rewarded with a merit to match. The same in France, where he has returned as a star. At 33 years old, he has never been so close to the trophy and he is going to rush his options to the end. The Classic may be the turning point to achieve it.