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At 34, Karim Benzema has never been so close to the Ballon d’Or and what has changed in him?

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At the end of November, the winner of the 2021 Ballon d’Or will be announced. The list of 30 candidates for the award published by France Football includes names such as Lionel Messi, Lewandowski, Jorginho, Karim Benzema and Mbappe.

The Top Candidates

With his hot form for Real Madrid in the new season and his brilliant play in the final stages of the UEFA Nations League, Benzema has become one of the top candidates for this year’s Ballon d’Or:

  • after the UEFA Nations League final, Real Madrid’s official Twitter account linked Benzema with the Ballon d’Or;
  • As newspaper launched a poll on the Ballon d’Or winner, with 76% of its readers backing Benzema;
  • Team newspaper’s most favorite candidate for the Ballon d’Or is also on the list.

He is also among the most favorite to win the Ballon d’Or, along with Lionel Messi and Lewandowski.

With 10 goals and 7 assists in 10 games for Real Madrid this season, Benzema has topped the La Liga scoring, assists, shots and shots on target charts, making him the number one player in La Liga today. Having helped France to win the UEFA Nations League, this means Benzema has picked up a prestigious team honor in 2021 and now the Spanish media are already campaigning hard for Benzema to make a strong case for him to win the Ballon d’Or this year.

At 34, Karim Benzema has never been so close to the Ballon d'Or and what has changed in him?

Karim Benzema is a bit of a special player

Benzema has been shortlisted for the Ballon d’Or 10 times, but his previous highest Ballon d’Or ranking was only 16th in 2014, and this year is certainly the closest the French striker has come to winning it.

In many ways, Benzema is a bit of a special player. He plays as a centre-forward, but his style of play is a bit ‘out of the mainstream’. He joined Real Madrid in the same year as Cristiano and played alongside Ronaldo and Ramos at the Bernabeu, where he gained many club honors. He was the fulcrum of Real Madrid’s forward play, helping his teammates to score more goals. Many professionals praised Benzema’s talent and tactical value, but there was no shortage of doubts and criticism about him.

Goalscoring Force

Many people believed Benzema would not be able to be a goalscoring force for Real Madrid as Ronaldo left. Yet since the 2018-19 season, Benzema has made 168 appearances for his country and club, contributing 103 goals and 38 assists. He has scored 30, 27 and 30 goals in his last three seasons at Real Madrid and has been on fire this season, scoring 10 goals in October.

It is important to note that in the 2017-18 season before Ronaldo’s departure, Benzema scored only 12 goals in a season.

At 34, Karim Benzema has never been so close to the Ballon d'Or and what has changed in him?

Benzema has scored some difficult looking goals recently, thanks to his excellent observation and shooting skills. Technically Benzema may not have changed too much from a few years ago, but it is clear that he is taking on more responsibility, is more decisive and sophisticated, and is more adaptable.

The Real Leader

After the UEFA Nations League, Benzema has also received more recognition after his recent return to the national team. In the last few years, not having the backing of the national team has been one of the obstacles to Benzema’s bid for individual honors.

Despite the emergence of young players like Mbappe and Vinicius, it seems that Benzema is now the real leader of the French national team and Real Madrid. Messi and Levine have also been very good this year, and even if the Ballon d’Or does not go to Benzema, his status is definitely not the same as it was a few years ago.

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