Benzema, great favorite to win the Ballon d’Or

Since Zinedine Zidane embraced the Ballon d’Or in 1998, no other Frenchman had had the honor of doing so. Karim Benzema is the main favorite to take over from his mentor at Real Madrid at the ceremony that will take place in Paris this Monday.

In the first year in three decades in which the Argentine Lionel Messi is not among the candidates, Benzema is willing to become the second player to win the award since the shared hegemony between the "Flea" and the Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo. Only his Croatian teammate Luka Modric, winner in 2018, has been able to break it so far.

The 34-year-old white attacker had an extraordinary season at his club, architect of the Spanish league and the Champions League, without a doubt the most outstanding man of the most successful club, enough credentials so that no one appears in a position to overshadow him .

His numbers make 2022 one of those editions lacking in suspense and that the ceremony has some formality to make something that everyone already takes for granted come true: 42 goals in 44 games, top scorer in the Champions League with 15 goals, underpin a candidacy without cracks.

PENDING ACCOUNTS

The Frenchman will thus settle an account with a prize that has not treated him well. Until last year, his best position was the 16th he had in 2014, and in 2021, when some even included him among the favorites, he was one step away from the podium.

His great year has erased the stain of his conviction for complicity in blackmailing his teammate Mathieu Valbuena with a sexual video, but as the director of France Football, organizer of the award, Pascal Ferré, said in an interview with EFE, "the Ballon d’Or is not the Nobel Peace Prize".

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The prize will also be a message for young people: for the second consecutive year, a 34-year-old player will win.

In the absence of suspense about the winner, uncertainty remains about his companions on the podium, two positions for which four names are being considered.

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