It may be now or never for Karim Benzema to win the Ballon d’Or.
After spending years in the shadow of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, the 34-year-old has become a superstar in his own right in recent La Liga seasons.
Benzema impressed for club and country, with Real Madrid and France, reaping the rewards of his fine form in front of goal.
The French striker is the favorite to win the 2022 Ballon d’Or, and therefore, it might finally be time for Benzema to claim football’s highest individual honor.
MORE: 2022 Ballon d’Or finalists | When is the 2022 Ballon d’Or ceremony?
Why Benzema should win the Ballon d’Or
Club seasons aren’t much better than Benzema’s in 2021/22.
The Frenchman scored a career-high 44 goals in all competitions as Real Madrid won La Liga, the Supercopa de Espana and the coveted UEFA Champions League.
If that wasn’t enough, Benzema also featured for France as he made his return to the national team in sensational fashion.
He scored in the 2021 UEFA Nations League final and was named player of the match as France beat Spain 2-1 and ended 2021 with an impressive nine goals in 13 appearances for the Blues.
Few players can claim to have had a better 2021/22 season with Robert Lewandowski scoring more goals at club level but not winning as many team trophies.
Kevin De Bruyne and Kylian Mbappe will also be in the conversation, but Benzema’s Champions League crown should really give him the edge over all competitors in 2022.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) August 10, 2022
Has Benzema ever won the Ballon d’Or?
Benzema never won the Ballon d’Or before the 2022 ceremony.
The 34-year-old has never even finished in the top three in previous years.
Benzema has often been overshadowed by Cristiano Ronaldo during his time at Real Madrid and has only taken full possession of Los Blancos’ attack in recent seasons.
MORE: How Karim Benzema finally escaped Cristiano Ronaldo’s shadow
Benzema favorite for Ballon d’Or 2022
There are 30 players who have been shortlisted for the 2022 Men’s Ballon d’Or. Among the favorites are Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Robert Lewandowski (at Bayern Munich in 2021/22, now at Barcelona), Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City) and Mohamed Salah (Liverpool).
Benzema is believed to be the clear winner after leading Real Madrid to a La Liga and Champions League double, while winning top scorer honors in both competitions.
MORE: Full shortlists for the men’s and women’s Ballon d’Or 2022
The favorite bets for the men’s Ballon d’Or 2022
Odds via Sports interactions (Canada)
|Karim Benzema||real Madrid||France||-2500|
|Kevin de Bruyne||City of Man||Belgium||+2184|
|Virgil van Dijk||liverpool||Netherlands||+2621|
|Robert Lewandowski||Bayern Munich||Poland||+2621|
|Cristiano Ronaldo||united man||Portugal||+3495|
Benzema Ballon d’Or’s best finishes
Benzema’s best Ballon d’Or result came in 2021 when he finished in fourth place with 239 votes.
Before that, the Frenchman hadn’t come close to making the top 10 and in his first two years as a runner-up he didn’t receive any votes.
End of Benzema’s Ballon d’Or
French players who won the Ballon d’Or
- Michel Platini (1983, 1984, 1985)
- Raymond Kopa (1958)
- Zinedine Zidane (1998)
- Jean-Pierre Papin (1991)
If Benzema won the Ballon d’Or in 2022, he would guarantee France would win as many Ballons d’Or as any other nation in history.
France can claim six Ballon d’Or victories so far, with Argentina, the Netherlands, Portugal and Germany holding the current record with seven wins.
Frenchman Michel Platini has won the Ballon d’Or three times, while Raymond Kopa, Zinedine Zidane and Jean-Pierre Papin have all won the honor once each.
Real Madrid players will win the Ballon d’Or
- Alfredo Di Stefano (1957, 1959)
- Raymond Kepa (1958)
- Luis Figo (2000)
- Ronaldo (2002)
- Fabio Cannavaro (2006)
- Cristiano Ronaldo (2013, 2014, 2016, 2017)
- Luka Modric (2018)
A win for Benzema would see Real Madrid move into a tie for the most successful club when it comes to winning their players the Ballon d’Or.
They are currently second with 11 wins and would join Barcelona on 12 should Benzema be crowned the 2022 recipient.
Cristiano Ronaldo has won four of his five Ballon d’Or titles while playing for Real Madrid, with Luka Modric being the last of their players to win the honor when he won it in 2018.