We have arrived at that time of year again, which means that social networks around the world will be buzzing with hot debate and arguments, as fans of different players and teams backing their favorite choices. Rarely does any award cause as much discussion as the annual Ballon d’Or, recognizing the top footballers in the global game.
The award ceremony is due to be held in October this year, with 180 international journalists from different countries casting votes, ranking their top five players by order of merit. The 2022 edition features , whereby journalists are instructed to consider performance during the 2021-22 season, rather than over the calendar year as per previous editions.
When you find out the Ballon d’Or will now be awarded based on the season and not the calendar year 👀 pic.twitter.com/tVducE2r1K
— B/R Football (@brfootball) March 11, 2022
On Friday 12th August, the final nominees for the award were officially announced by France Football, the magazine behind the prize handed to the world’s best players since 1956.
But following a generation of almost total dominance by Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, neither of those two footballing icons are in with a shout of picking up the iconic Golden Ball this year.
In fact, the Portuguese phenomenon and the Argentine ace are not even amongst the top three contenders, making 2022 something of a special year for the Ballon d’Or award. Instead, we have the prospect of someone winning who has arguably deserved to do so many times before, only to be left in the shadow of more popular superstars. That man is Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema.
Lack of genuine appreciation for Benzema over the years?
When it comes to the most prestigious individual award in world football, “always the bridesmaid and never the bride” is perhaps the best phrase to describe Karim Benzema. Believe it or not, the Frenchman has actually been nominated nine times for the Ballon d’Or nine times, between 2009 and 2021.
Lionel Messi scooped the award seven times, while Cristiano Ronaldo walked away with the big prize on five occasions, adding to his total of five awards. Other than those two living legends, the only other player to lift the Ballon d’Or was Luka Modric in 2018.
— Real Madrid C.F. 🇬🇧🇺🇸 (@realmadriden) August 10, 2022
But perhaps even more remarkably, Benzema has never been voted amongst the top three players, whenever the final tabulations for the award have been calculated since 2009.
Considering everything he has achieved at Real Madrid, both individually and collectively, this would arguably suggest that Benzema has not received the recognition he so richly deserves.
Some followers and analysts of Real Madrid have pointed out over the years, that without playing alongside such an unselfish player and attacking teammate as Benzema, it’s fair to say that Ronaldo might not have won so many Ballon d’Or awards. Since the Portuguese star departed Santiago Bernabeu, the limelight appears to have shone more brightly on Benzema.
Benzema is now finally tipped to win the Ballon d’Or
At long last, it seems that Karim Benzema is on course to receive the trophy. Following the nomination announcement, he is already tipped as the clear favorite amongst the leading bookmakers. Around the whole world, it finally seems this exceptional player is getting the praise and approval he has deserved for numerous years.
Even in Asia, the appears to be with Benzema, when reviewing top online bookies via expert comparison site Asiabet, which analyses various markets to provide the best wagering options available. Odds and promotions can vary from one site to the next, so having a hub that sources this information is always handy.
— Karim Benzema (@Benzema) August 11, 2022
Indeed, such is the backing for Benzema’s right, the Real Madrid man is way ahead of any other contenders for the Ballon d’Or award, according to the latest betting odds.
Bookies are so convinced he will win the award; the highest odds are currently around 1.05 using the decimal format. Just to give that some context, his nearest rival is fellow Frenchman Kylian Mbappe at PSG, quoted at the lowest odds of 17.00 right now.
During the 2021-22 season, Benzema was the top scorer and a champion with Real Madrid in La Liga and won the UEFA Champions League, and was the top marksman in that competition, along with being voted the best player of the European campaign.
If nothing else for these reasons, Benzema simply must win the 2022 Ballon d’Or award, given that no other player has matched his levels of performance and achievements.