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‘Your Ballon d’Or Award Was Well Deserved’ –Zidane Hails Benzema

‘Your Ballon d’Or Award Was Well Deserved’ –Zidane Hails Benzema

Former Real Madrid Legend, Zinedine Zidane has expressed satisfaction with the announcement of Karim Benzema as this year’s Ballon d’Or award winner.

Recall that Benzema became only the fifth Frenchman to do so and at 34 years old is the oldest winner since Stanley Matthews in 1956.

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo had won 12 of the last 13 Ballon d’Ors – with Real Madrid’s Luka Modric winning as the sole outlier in 2018 – but Messi was not even nominated for the 2022 award. Ronaldo finished 20th this year.

Reacting to the development, Zidane says his fellow Frenchman is worthy of this year’s title.

“His story with Real Madrid is not the same as mine. I signed with them when I was 29 years old, I was an established player, I had been world champion…. He got there very young. Even when he struggled and people thought he was going to throw in the towel, he said to himself: ‘I want to impose myself here and I’m going to be the best’. And he got it. Despite the criticism and the pressure, which is huge at a club like this, he never gave up, which is really commendable. That’s what I like about him: he never gave up, he let the people do the talking and today, his track record and his stats speak for him.

“He has become a legend for this club, he has achieved incredible things and he will remain in people’s memories for a long time. I’m happy for him because he deserves what he has achieved. He always had confidence in himself, even when some said, ‘Oh yeah, but Karim doesn’t score enough goals to be a 9’. And that wasn’t right, because when he didn’t score, he always made the others score and play well. And for me, that’s just as important. Karim is a collective player who loves and feels the game and makes others better.

“I was like him when I was a player, only I was less of a striker, needless to say (laughs).

“Today he is a total leader, constant all the time, he cannot be blamed for anything and nobody blames him for anything. Everyone says that the departure of Cristiano (Ronaldo) changed him, but I don’t think so. He was very good when Cristiano was around, he scored goals and assisted Cristiano. I think he has just evolved and has become more confident in himself. He has become a father, he is fulfilled in his personal life and it shows on the pitch.

“And he conveys that confidence: Karim is a leader who doesn’t talk much – that’s also what unites us – but he always says the right words. When he talks about soccer, he knows what he’s talking about. Our discussions about the game have always been very interesting. We have the same conception of football. Ours is the game, it’s about the ball, and the ball has to express itself (laughs).”


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