It is likely to mark the end of an era.
Karim Benzema is the overwhelming favorite to win the Ballon d’Or on Monday, and the Real Madrid star’s expected success could finally signal the end of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo’s stranglehold on the prize.
Messi or Ronaldo have won 12 of the 13 times the prestigious trophy has been awarded in the past 14 years – including sharing 10 consecutive years between 2008 and 2017 – with Luka Modric being the only player to have won it. period in 2018.
Although Messi won in 2019 and 2021 – the 2020 edition was canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic – neither the Argentine nor Ronaldo were named in the 30-man list for this year’s awards, and both had difficult seasons at their respective clubs.
Having been nominated for the award nine times, Benzema is the favorite to win this year after enjoying a superb season leading Real Madrid.
The 34-year-old scored key goals as Real Madrid won the Spanish League and Champions League last season.
Benzema scored a total of 44 goals in 46 appearances in the 2021-2022 season, finishing with 15 goals in the Champions League – the competition’s top scorer – and was reinstated in France’s international squad.
Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe, Robert Lewandowski – now at Barcelona after joining Bayern Munich’s Catalan side for the start of this season – and Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne were also in the initial 30-man Balls. “Or a shortened list.
For the women’s award, with England’s Euro 2022 winning trio – Millie Bright, Beth Mead and Lucy Bronze – leading the nominations, Barcelona and Spain star Alexia Putellas is in contention to win the Women’s Ballon d’Or for the second year in a row. , despite not playing since the injury before last summer’s Euros.
Benzema has also started the season well, scoring five goals in his first 10 appearances, including a goal in this Sunday’s El Clasico win over arch-leaders Barcelona.
After playing second fiddle to Ronaldo for so many years at Real Madrid, Benzema has become one of the best strikers in European football in recent years.
In every season since Ronaldo’s move to Juventus in 2018, Benzema has scored at least 27 goals in his transition to Real Madrid’s main threat.
And last season was his best season in the famous white of the Spanish giants, as he helped propel the team to a record-extending 14th Champions League title and a dominant league triumph.
The award, one of the most prestigious awards in football, has undergone a format change from previous years.
Usually players are judged on their performances in a calendar year, but this season they are judged over a football season, in this case the 2021-22 campaign.
A journalist selected from among the top 100 nations in the FIFA world rankings selects the five best players from the list and as a voter the first placer receives six points, second place four, third place three, fourth place two points. and the fifth one point.