Gus Poyet thinks the Frenchman is in the lead for the coveted honor
Former Chelsea player Gustavo Poyet has often expressed his views on the potential Ballon d’Or winners of 2022 at various junctures this season. Now, he believes if Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema continues his red-hot form, then there’s no doubting that he will take home the honor.
The Uruguayan is currently employed as the head coach of the men’s national football team in Greece. He likes to keep a close eye on the biggest games around Europe. He was present at Stamford Bridge where the home side were dominated by Real Madrid in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final. Benzema scored a hat-trick in the game as the Spanish side won 3-1.
The second leg was played out at the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday. Before the match, Poyet took to the microphone on the Spanish radio show ‘La Pizarra de Quintana’ as reported by Marca.
He spoke of Benzema in high regard and suggested that he has a real shot at winning the Ballon d’Or 2022.
“You have to recognize the quality of Benzema’s first two goals. These are two extraordinary technical gestures. The two headers the other day against Chelsea were spectacular. I admit that I applauded a little. If it continues like this, it will certainly be the Ballon d’Or.”
The Blues gave Real Madrid a really tough fight in the second leg. They almost knocked them out in astonishing fashion with goals from Mason Mount, Timo Werner and Antonio Rudiger. However, Luka Modric produced a moment of magic with an outside-of-the-foot cross aimed into the penalty box. Rodrygo applied a fine finish from the cross to bring the tie to 4-4 on aggregate.
The game then went into extra-time where Poyet’s Ballon d’Or favorite, Benzema, scored another fine header to take Los Blancos to the semis.
Karim Benzema’s Champions League heroics make him a deserved contendor for Ballon d’Or
Many stars have shined for their clubs and churned out match-winning performances across Europe’s top leagues and in the Champions League as well.
The likes of Kylian Mbappe, Mohamed Salah and Robert Lewandowski have all performed excellently and are in the running for this year’s Ballon d’Or honor. However, the kind of impact Benzema has had in deciding crucial matches has been unparalleled.
He constructed an entire comeback against Paris Saint-Germain when his team were 2-0 down all by himself by netting a brilliant hat-trick. The Frenchman then replicated the same against Chelsea. He scored a bunch of majestic headers and forced another top keeper into a mistake to claim a second consecutive hat-trick.
Meanwhile, PSG star Mbappe and Bayern Munich striker Lewandowski saw their sides eliminated from the Champions League despite their efforts. As such, Liverpool’s Mo Salah and Benzema look like prime candidates to win the coveted honor given by France Football.