Karim Benzema is having a standout season for Real Madrid and T campaign for him to win this year’s Ballon d’Or award keeps ramping up.
The French striker did his case no harm on Tuesday night in Manchester when his brace helped keep Los Blancos in the tie against Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, who won 4-3 on the night.
Benzema made sure that Real Madrid will have something to build on in the second leg and only have a one goal deficit to overcome in front of their own fans at the Bernabeu.
In all competitions for club and country this season, the 34-year-old has 46 goals and 14 assists in 48 games, which is a phenomenal haul.
He’s beating the competition, too, as he’s the top scorer in LaLiga Santander and the Champions League, as well as being the player in Spain with most assists.
Age is not slowing Benzema down and once again we are seeing how he has flourished and even grown since stepping out of Cristiano Ronaldo’s shadow, becoming a true talisman and leader for Los Merengues. The Frenchman is stepping up on the big stage, not just scoring goals but scoring important goals and playing an absolutely vital role in Real Madrid’s Champions League run.
He also played a key role in Real Madrid’s Supercopa de Espana win and France’s Nations League title. And it won’t be long until he’s champion of Spain again.
Yet Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp believed the Champions League glory will help forward Sadio Mane win this year’s Ballon d’Or. The Senegalese star is said to be in contention for the best player of the year award having played an instrumental role in the Reds’ quest for an unprecedented quadruple this season, as well as helping his country to a first-ever Africa Cup of Nations title. Mane, 30, was also on target in Liverpool’s 2-0 win over Villarreal in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final at Anfield, scoring his 20th goal in all competitions for the club this campaign.
Asked after the game if his player deserves the award, Klopp said he was unclear of the criteria for winning but noted claiming Europe’s top prize should help Mane’s chances.