Karim Benzema has 44 goals and 14 assists for Real Madrid this season in all competitions. He's even scored 15 goals in the Champions League, making this one of the best seasons in the history of the game's most renowned club competition. Real would not even be in the final if it weren't for his back-to-back hat-tricks in the elimination rounds against PSG and Chelsea.
He is undoubtedly the favorite for the Ballon d'Or. In comparison to Benzema, no one else should even be considered a candidate.
However, it's astonishing how quickly the biased and uninformed want you to forget about Benzema's most memorable moments - or simply ignore the statistics.
The fact that Karim Benzema won the Ballon d'Or is not a criticism of Salah or Mane.
I admire Klopp standing up for his players, but the idea that you have to be Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi to win the Champions League is historically incorrect and disrespectful to Benzema, who is a living icon. Managers who were not outstanding players must understand their place when determining who will be remembered as a legend.
Klopp is also denigrating a player he was close to at Borussia Dortmund, Robert Lewandowski, who was deserving in 2020 and 2021. Not that he cares; at these news appearances, he will practically say anything without thinking it through.
Now it's McManaman's turn. Because it is a widespread sentiment shared by those who view things in such a basic manner. No, Jorginho did not deserve to win the Ballon d'Or, let alone finish third, because Chelsea won the Champions League and Italy won the Euros. This isn't how it works.
Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane are both world-class players. They must be respected by every Real Madrid fan and sports lover. Mane has won the African Cup of Nations, which is a significant accomplishment.
Neither of them, though, has been as effective as Benzema this season. In the Premier League and Champions League this season, Mane has 21 goals and two assists.
There are two assists! In both competitions, Benzema has 14 points! Salah has a total of 31 goals and 15 assists. Exceptional numbers, but still far behind Benz's.
Mane and Salah's chances of winning the Ballon d'Or are harmed by how brilliant they are together, how good Luis Diaz has been, and how inventive Trent Alexander-Arnold is. Benzema is surrounded by world-class players as well, but without Mane or Salah, Liverpool is a more complete team. Real Madrid loses 4-0 to Barcelona without Benzema.
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