MIGUEL ÁNGEL LARA
If Karim Benzema were to win the 2021 Ballon d’Or, much of the achievement would be down to Zinedine Zidane who was key to his fellow Frenchman’s superb form over the years when working together at Real Madrid.
The former Los Blancos coach has backed his former striker to scoop the top individual prize in world football, which he himself won in 1998, believing that he is head and shoulders above the rest of the competition.
“Karim is in fine form. I would give him the Ballon d’Or. He deserves it,” Zidane told Telefoot.
“Benzema deserves it. He is an incredible player, I had the great honour of coaching him.
“He knows how to do everything on the field. He is above [everyone] and I hope he can be rewarded with this Ballon d’Or,” Zidane added.
Zidane isn’t the only high profile Frenchman to have his say on Benzema. Former Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger also believes the Real Madrid frontman merits the prize although he also admits that other factors will play a role, such as collective trophies.
“There are no outright favourites this year,” Wenger commented.
“In terms of individual performance and consistency, Benzema is at the highest level.
“The uncertainty is: will the weight of trophies play a decisive role?”
France captain Hugo Lloris also lavished praise on the striker.
“Benzema leads by example: what he does on the field, his stats…,” he said.
“He deserves all the praise we give him.”