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Ballon d'Or: Real Madrid push Benzema credentials after France win

Karim Benzema is on the shortlist for the Ballon d'Or, and Real Madrid clearly believe the striker, whose goal helped France to the Nations League title, deserves the award.

Soccer Football - Nations League - Final - Spain v France - San Siro, Milan, Italy - October 10, 2021 France's Karim Benzema celebrates after winning the Nations League REUTERS/Alberto Lingria

Real Madrid pressed striker Karim Benzema’s case for the Ballon d’Or as they congratulated the 33-year-old on his role in France’s UEFA Nations League final win over Spain.

Benzema stunner helps France to Nations League title

Benzema’s superb recent form continued on Sunday as the Madrid star curled in a stunning equaliser to cancel out Mikel Oyarzabal’s opener for Spain, before Kylian Mbappé rounded goalkeeper Unai Simón to seal a 2-1 win for Les Bleus.

Benzema’s goal was his 12th in 15 games for club and country so far this season - scoring figures that include 10 in 10 for Real Madrid.

Real Madrid call for Ballon d'Or for "spectacular" Benzema

"Congratulations to @equipedefrance and to all of the France football fans for the extraordinary #NationsLeague title and congratulations to our spectacular player @Benzema, Balón de Oro," Real Madrid tweeted after the Nations League final in Milan.

Benzema, who netted 30 times for Madrid last term before adding four goals at Euro 2020 following his recall to the French squad, was named among the 30 nominees for the 2021 Men’s Ballon d’Or on Friday.

Winning Ballon d'Or "always a dream of mine", says Benzema

In an interview with AS ahead of this weekend’s Nations League final, the forward spoke of a lifelong desire to lift the Ballon d’Or. “Since I was a kid, it was always a dream of mine to win the Ballon d'Or... it's the dream for most players.

“It's true that football is a team game but when you help the side to win, when you're instrumental in triumphs, when you score winning goals, it's natural for any player to aspire to win the Ballon d'Or. Of course, I'll work as hard as I can to win that trophy and I hope, someday, fulfil the dream I had when I was a young boy.”

Ballon d'Or winner to be revealed in late November

France Football, the French sports magazine that is behind the Ballon d’Or, will announce the winner of the men's and women's awards at a ceremony at Paris’ Chatelet Theatre on 29 November.

Paris Saint-Germain and Argentina star Lionel Messi is the men’s holder, having claimed the accolade for a record sixth time in 2019, while still a Barcelona player. The Women’s Ballon d’Or was last won by OL Reign and United States player Megan Rapinoe.

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, France Football did not give out the Ballon d’Or in 2020.