Karim Benzema: Ballon d’Or success will cap what has been a remarkable season for the Real Madrid star




CNN

It might mark the end of an era.

Karim Benzema is the overwhelming favorite to win the Ballon d’Or on Monday and the Real Madrid star’s expected success could finally signal the end of the stranglehold Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo had on the award.

Either Messi or Ronaldo have won the Ballon d’Or 12 of 13 times the prestigious trophy has been awarded over the past 14 years – including 10 consecutive years between 2008 and 2017 – with Luka Modric being the only player to win it during those Time won period in 2018.

Despite Messi winning it in 2019 and 2021 – with the 2020 edition canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic – neither the Argentine nor Ronaldo were named on the 30-man shortlist for this year’s award as both spent seasons on stilts at their respective clubs .

Benzema, previously nominated for the award nine times, is the overwhelming favorite to win this year after enjoying a stellar season at the helm of Real Madrid.

Benzema celebrates after scoring against Manchester City in the Champions League.

The 34-year-old scored important goals while helping Real Madrid win both the Spanish league title and the Champions League last season.

Benzema scored a total of 44 goals in 46 appearances in the 2021-2022 season, including finishing with 15 goals in the Champions League – the competition’s top scorer – and re-established himself with the France national team.

Players like Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe, Robert Lewandowski – who is now at Barcelona after joining the Catalan team from Bayern Munich earlier in the current season – and Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne were also in the first 30-man balloon d “Or short list.

In the women’s category, a trio of England’s Euro 2022 winners – Millie Bright, Beth Mead and Lucy Bronze – top the nominations, while Barcelona and Spain star Alexia Putellas is in contention for the Ballon d’Or Feminin for a second time winning episode despite not having played since suffering an injury before last summer’s Euros.

Benzema has also started the season well, with five goals in his first ten games as well as a goal in this Sunday’s El Clasico win over arch-rivals Barcelona.

After playing second fiddle to Ronaldo at Real Madrid for so many years, Benzema has established himself as one of the best strikers in European football in recent years.

Since Ronaldo joined Juventus in 2018, Benzema has scored at least 27 goals each season as he became Real Madrid’s main threat.

And last season was his best campaign in the Spanish giants’ famous white shirt as he helped lead the team to a record-breaking 14th Champions League title and a dominant LaLiga triumph.

Benzema lifted the UEFA Champions League trophy after Real Madrid beat Liverpool in the final last season.

The award, one of football’s most prestigious prizes, has had a different format compared to previous years.

Typically players were judged on their performances over a calendar year, but this season they’re being judged over a football season – in this case the 2021-22 season.

A selected journalist from each of the top 100 nations in the FIFA World Ranking selects their top five players from the shortlist, and the player placed first on a voter form receives six points, second four, third three points and fourth two points and fifth a point.