The months leading up to the prestigious Ballon d’Or ceremony are usually the most controversial in the football year. Endless articles and heated debates progress into arguments over who should be awarded football’s most prestigious individual award.
However, the scenario this season is different. There is not only a sense of calm but a generalised acceptance that Karim Benzema will walk away with the award from France Football.
The consensus amongst players, pundits and fans is a testament to the record-breaking and unprecedented season that the Frenchman had for Real Madrid last year.
Bayern Munich forward Sadio Mane, who is also in contention for the award, tipped the Real Madrid captain to walk away with the award on the 17th of October. As revealed by Canal Plus Football, he said:
“Karim Benzema deserves the Ballon d’Or. I’m happy for him.”
It is being reported that Benzema will not just win the award later this month but do so with the highest difference of points to second place in the history of the award.
While it remains to be seen if the claim is true, it would justify the lack of noise around the Ballon d’Or this season.
In 32 La Liga games last season, the Real Madrid captain scored 27 goals and provided 12 assists for the team. His 15 goals in the UEFA Champions League saw the team steer past some of Europe’s finest clubs in breathtaking fashion.
One is specifically reminded of his hat-trick against PSG and Chelsea in the knockouts that turned around lost games into stunning victories.
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.