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Real Madrid's Karim Benzema talks Ballon d'Or and "the best match in football."


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Ballon d’Or on the mind of Karim Benzema​

There are few strikers in Europe better than Karim Benzema. Though the French international is in the midst of arguably the best period of his career over the last three seasons in the Spanish capital, the son of Lyon and Olympique Lyonnais youth product has always been in the shadow of players the likes of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Robert Lewandowski.

Despite his massive influence at Real Madrid, Benzema has flown under the radar for a number of years while plying his trade at the Santiago Bernabeu. But the Frenchman spoke candidly about the Ballon d’Or and how the coveted honor has been on his mind amidst his brilliant displaces for Los Blancos;

“I have always had it in my mind, when Cristiano won it, I thought I could win it too.

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 3 or 4 years.”

And Benzema would be right to do just that during that period, with the Madrid center-forward smashing a combined 65-goals in La Liga over the last three seasons, netting 20-goals in a trio of campaigns for the first time in his professional career.

Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema talks Ballon d’Or and El Clasico; “this is still the best match that exists in football.”

27 October 2020, North Rhine-Westphalia, Mönchengladbach: Football: Champions League, Group stage, Group B, 2nd matchday, Borussia Mönchengladbach – Real Madrid at the stadium in Borussia-Park. Karim Benzema (r) of Madrid cheers after his goal for the 2:1. Photo: Marius Becker/dpa (Photo by Marius Becker/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Benzema has begun the 2021-22 campaign in otherworldly form as well, finding the back of the net nine times in eight league fixtures while also adding seven assists on top of his goal total. Certainly, there is no hotter property in the number 9 role in all of Europe than him at the minute.

El Clasico remains the best match in football despite player changes​

With Real Madrid set to take on Barcelona at the Camp Nou this weekend in another El Clasico installment, Benzema insisted that the fixture remains the top draw in all of Europe despite the list of players who no longer partake in the titanic clash.

Piqué scores, keeps Barcelona alive in Champions League with 1-0 win over Kyiv.

— AP Sports (@AP_Sports) October 20, 2021

Barcelona have won their last two matches, out-dueling Valencia at the weekend before doing just enough to best Dynamo Kyiv thanks to Gerard Piqué, and their potential uptick in form could make for a brilliant night for Benzema and company in the Catalan capital despite some gargantuan’s of the game no longer plying their trade in Spain;

“For me, everything remains the same, this is still the best match that exists in football. The players who are here, who left or who will join in the future, it doesn’t matter.

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