The Ballon d’Or is widely considered the pinnacle of individual awards in football. The prestigious award has been won by several Real Madrid players in the past including Cristiano Ronaldo, Luka Modric and Fabio Cannavaro.
One player whom the award has eluded is Karim Benzema. The French international has been one of best player in the world for close to two seasons, but missed out on the award even last year to Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski.
After Real Madrid’s win over Liverpool in the UCL final, Thierry Henry had no doubts that his compatriot deserved the award this season. Speaking during the post-match ,
“I have just one message to France Football – close the Ballon d’Or voting process NOW. Karim Benzema has already won it. Goodbye.”
Benzema has been instrumental in not only the club’s La Liga title but also their UEFA Champions League supremacy this season. In 12 UCL games, he scored 15 goals and provided two assists. His goal and assist tally in the recent La Liga season stand at 27 and 12 respectively.
Sadio Mane and Mohammed Salah were the two main competitors to Benzema in his bid for the Ballon d’Or. However, Real Madrid’s win over the Merseyside club last night puts the Frenchman firmly in the drivers seat now.
Thierry Henry himself never won the coveted award in his career but came close on several occasions. Despite being the best player in the world during his time, his inability to win the Champions League saw him miss out on the individual honour.
Given that Benzema has now won domestic and European silverware, nothing, it seems, can stop him from walking away with the Ballon d’Or.
Real Madrid forward set for talks with Arsenal this week – report
With less than six months left on his contract, Marco Asensio looks to be on his way out of Real Madrid very soon. The Spaniard has not yet started talks to extend his contract with the Spanish giants, which has garnered the eyes from several top clubs across Europe.
One of the clubs interested in his signature happens to be Premier League leaders Arsenal. Mikel Arteta is said to be a fan of the player, and will try to be bring him to North London on a free transfer this summer.
According to Mirror, Asensio’s agents will fly to London this week to get an a better understanding Arsenal’s interest in the player. Talks are scheduled with Arsenal, among possibly other clubs.
Asensio’s priority remains to extend with Arsenal, but not at ‘any cost’. The winger is looking for raise with his new contract to go along with a four-year deal. The report states that he currently earns around €130,000 per week at Madrid.
The 27-year-old has been waiting for an official offer from Los Blancos for a while, but the club will wait for March or April before taking a decision on his extension.
Asensio took a while to grow important for Carlo Ancelotti this season, but has been featuring regularly on the right-wing lately. He even scored in 2-0 win against Valencia in midweek, taking his tally to two for the season, excluding three assists as well.
Arsenal are definitely looking to add more firepower to their squad for next season, having already brought in Leandro Trossard in the winter. Asensio could serve as the perfect backup to Bukayo Saka, who has been in incredible form all season.