Real Madrid

Benzema: When I saw Cristiano Ronaldo pick up the Ballon d’Or, I thought I could win it too

Real Madrid forward hotly tipped to win the award for 2021

Real Madrid are fully behind the campaign for Karim Benzema to win the Ballon d’Or for 2021, and the player himself has admitted that when he watched his former teammate Cristiano Ronaldo consistently pick up the award, he thought that he could win it too.

Benzema has played some of the finest football of his career in 2021, carrying Los Merengues at times, and he is well within range of Robert Lewandowski, who many are tipping as favourite for the award.

“It has always been a goal, I have always had it in my mind, when Cristiano Ronaldo won it, I thought I could win it too,” Benzema explained to ESPN.

“I can say that I have never been so close to winning it thanks to my performances, because of what I’ve done here in the last three or four years.

“I’m not that far away.”

The upcoming Clasico will be the first since Lionel Messi departed Barcelona, bringing to an end the Messi/Ronaldo era of meetings between the two bitter rivals, yet Benzema feels the glamour of the match remains the same.

“For me, everything remains the same, this is still the best match that exists in football,” he added.

“The players who are here, who left or who will join in the future, it doesn’t matter.

“Before Cristiano and Messi there was [Zinedine] Zidane and Ronaldinho. Players change but Real Madrid vs Barcelona will always be Real Madrid vs Barcelona, no matter who participates.”

Benzema has been credited with hitting his peak much later than a lot of his contemporaries, and he puts this down to being fit.

“Physically, I feel good, the more time passes then the better I feel,” he continued.

“It’s largely about experience and, since I turned 30, invisible work.

“Everything you do after training, when you go home, it’s seriousness, professionalism, you have to learn to enjoy every bit of work, not just that which happens on the pitch.”

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