‘El Phenomeno’ is backing in-form Real Madrid striker to win the Golden Ball
His views come in light of the Frenchman’s latest heroics, as he struck in extra-time to fire Los Blancos to the Champions League semifinals over Chelsea.
Having also scored a superb hat-trick in the first leg at Stamford Bridge, the goal was merely a testament to the fine campaign Benzema is having this season.
With 38 goals in all competitions, he’s already registered his most productive campaign, while adding trophies will surely further boost his Golden Ball chances.
Ronaldo, who spent five years in the Spanish capital, is throwing his weight behind the Real Madrid striker.
Speaking to Alessandro Del Piero on Sky Sports Italia after the match, he said:
“Benzema deserves the Ballon d’Or, I’ve been saying it got years and getting criticised.”But he deserves it, he’s a great forward.”
Ronaldo has a reasonable standing when it comes to giving opinions on issues like the Ballon d’Or, considering the Brazilian won it twice himself.
Only five players – Marco van Basten, Michel Platini, Johan Cryuff (three each), Cristiano Ronaldo (five) and Lionel Messi (seven) – have claimed the award on more occasions.
Benzema, meanwhile, hasn’t won it once, but came very close last time after he finished in fourth place in the final rankings, the highest he’s ever managed.
Real Madrid striker among top Ballon d’Or contenders
Given the form Benzema has produced this season, French news outlet L’Equipe tips him as the leading contender for this year’s Ballon d’Or right now.
He’s been the driving force behind Real Madrid’s La Liga title charge and has stepped up to the plate in the Champions League knockout stages too.
With a handful of games still to go in the campaign, the 34-year-old will definitely bag a few more goals to strengthen his case.
This year’s World Cup could also have an impact in deciding the Golden Ball winner as the best performer often ends up among the top nominees.
Benzema has delivered for France, the defending world champions, since his return to the international stage. He will hope to play another big part in their Qatar campaign, which in turn will propel his Ballon d’Or hopes.