Karim Benzema is the world’s best centre-forward, and he has been for quite a while now.
Real Madrid‘s No.9 has scored in each of his last six appearances for Los Blancos, and Zinedine Zidane‘s side are a different team with him in it.
But not everyone admires Benzema as much as they should. He’s already the second highest scoring Frenchman in football’s history with 365 goals, and the fifth highest goalscorer in Real Madrid‘s history on 272. As well, he’s the fifth most prolific player in Champions League history with 70 goals to his name in the competition.
The numbers are phenomenal as they are, but when it’s taken into account that he has never been a penalty taker or a traditional No.9, they’re elevated even further.
Despite those undeniably impressive statistics, Benzema doesn’t play for his country, and that is one of the only things standing in his way in pursuit of a Ballon d’Or.
Exile from France
With Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in their peak years, Benzema stood little chance of being named the world’s best player. Now, though, he’s showing that he’s as good as anyone around.
When Luka Modric won the prize in 2018, the importance of a successful international tournament was clear, as was the case when Fabio Cannavaro won the award in 2006 after leading Italy to the World Cup.
While Benzema‘s France exile has no doubt helped his Real Madrid career considerably in recent seasons, his personal trophy cabinet will suffer as a result of Didier Deschamps‘ refusal to call him up.
An international trophy, or even an impressive international competition, is all that Benzema is missing to be an indisputable candidate for the Ballon d’Or.