Real Madrid have managed to close the season by lifting the LaLiga title, an achievement that would not have been possible without Karim Benzema, who has been the stand-out performer in Zinedine Zidane’s side this season.
Along with Sergio Ramos, Benzema has been one of the leaders on the pitch that has helped guide Madrid to a 33rd LaLiga title, featuring in 37 of Madrid’s 38 league games. And his performances have not gone unnoticed in his native France, where the Lyon-born forward has not been the most popular character since his ostracism from the national team in 2015.
As it has been doing regularly over the past month, L’Equipe has once again put the spotlight on Benzema, dedicating its front page to the exiled Frenchman.
According to the Paris-based sports daily, the 32-year-old has been the “flavour of Madrid, (and) of the year”, going as far as to identify him as a worthy winner of the Ballon d’Or.
Benzema outshines Griezmann and Mbappé
“A more complete player than Robert Lewandowski, who scores more, [Benzema] shone as Antoine Griezmann experienced a troubled season at FC Barcelona. While Kylian Mbappé and Wissam Ben Yedder were halted with the cancellation of Ligue 1, he has been the most consistent of all French forwards this season,” writes L’Equipe journalist Anthony Clement.
“The recognition will not come from France’s Ballon d’Or, which has been cancelled this year, but straight from the pitch. This is the most important thing for someone who embodies such a beautiful idea of the game,” concludes the article.
Benzema deserving of Ballon d’Or – Florentino Pérez
L’Equipe are not the first to link Benzema with this year’s cancelled Ballon d’Or. Madrid president, Florentino Pérez, had already claimed that the Frenchman would be a deserving winner of football’s highest individual accolade before the cancellation of this year’s gala was announced by organisers, media outlet France Football.
“France Football will not award a Ballon d’Or this year, a trophy that Karim Benzema could certainly have claimed, since he was so decisive with Real Madrid,” says L’Equipe on its cover.
At 32 years old, Benzema scored 21 goals and provided 8 assists in 37 LaLiga games this season and will look to add to his four-goal Champions League tally when Madrid face Manchester City in the second leg of the quarter final tie at the Etihad on August 8, where Los Blancos need to turnover a 2-1 defeat from the first meeting at the Bernabéu.