The Trophees UNFP du Football are a set of awards handed out every year by the National Union of Professional Football Players in France. The awards look to recognise the best player, goalkeeper, manager and young talent in Ligue 1 and Ligue 2.
As part of the formalities, the committee also elect and name the best French player playing outside the Ligue 1. Karim Benzema has snapped up the top spot on the list. It is now his fourth successive season winning the award.
There was no shortage of contenders for the first place this season with several French players excelling in their respective teams. Eduardo Camavinga, Randal Kolo Muani, Theo Hernandez, and Mike Maignan were the other competitors well placed.
For Benzema to win such recognition in a season where he has been far from his best is truly sensational. The Frenchman struggled for fitness for a good chunk of the season, missing quite a few matches across all competitions.
Despite his layoffs this season, Benzema has scored 18 goals and provided three assists in 23 La Liga games this season. He also averages a whopping 2.1 key passes per game and has created 14 big chances in the league alone.
Across all competitions, the 35-year-old has racked up a return of 30 goals from 42 games.
While the veteran may not have been as consistent as he was last year, he still managed to come good for the team when they needed him the most. His hat trick at Spotify Camp Nou to complete the comeback over Barcelona in the Copa del Rey semi-finals will go down in the history books as one of the most clutch performances of recent times.
Benzema’s current contract with Real Madrid ends in June. He will, however, continue at the Santiago Bernabeu next season and has reached an agreement with the club over his renewal.
Bellingham on his special assist in Girona 0-3 Real Madrid: “Been watching Luka every day”
Real Madrid usurped the top spot in the La Liga standings from arch-rivals FC Barcelona as they defeated Girona 3-0 away at Estadi Montilivi.
It was a fine performance from Carlo Ancelotti’s men against Michel’s side, with the returning Jude Bellingham leading the way for his team.
After being benched against Las Palmas in midweek, the England international returned to the starting XI today and turned in yet another Man of the Match display for Real Madrid.
It all started with Joselu opening the scoring just 15 minutes into the game, with Bellingham assisting the goal with a special, outside-of-the-boot pass from the left side, bringing back memories of Luka Modric doing something similar a few years ago.
Talking about that special pass, Bellingham said: “I’ve been watching Luka every day for months. I just want to be creative. It took the pressure off us at the start.”
On the match and the result, the 20-year-old stated that it was a good day across the board for Real Madrid, as he said: “It was an important win. They were doing very well. We made a statement of intent to La Liga. Three goals, a clean sheet….”
It has been a truly remarkable start to life at Real Madrid for Bellingham and expressing how he feels to play for the Merengues, he exclaimed:
“I feel very good. I have freedom of movement and I’m enjoying football. Whenever I put on this shirt I always try to do my best.”
Apart from assisting Joselu’s opener, Bellingham also got his name on the scoresheet in the second period. Talking about his goal, the wonderkid said:
“It wasn’t a very good finish. I could have scored some more, but the important thing is the victory.”
The strike meant that Bellingham now has seven goals and two assists across all competitions for Real Madrid. Reflecting on his brilliant start, he said:
“It’s a good start, not bad. I would like to continue on this path and I won’t always score or assist, but I will always give my best.”
Bellingham’s celebration has been a huge hit, with kids in school, players from other clubs, and many others mimicking it. When asked how his special celebration originated, he replied:
“I don’t know where I first celebrated. I think it was with Birmingham. It’s an inspiration to see kids doing it in schools. It’s a wonderful thing.”