Football: after Real Madrid-Manchester City, what could deprive Karim Benzema of the Golden Ball?

Of course, it had to be him. After five minutes of the first half of extra time between Real Madrid and Manchester City, Wednesday May 5, Ruben Dias was guilty of a foul in his area on the inevitable Karim Benzema. A few moments later, the Madrid captain penalized the Cityzens by converting his penalty. A third goal synonymous with a ticket to the Champions League final, a first for four years.

Major craftsman and first symbol of the crazy European epic of the Merengues, with ten goals scored in the knockout phase, “KB9” has established its position as a contender for the Ballon d’Or 2022, new formula, which will take counts the entire season, from August 2021 to July 2022. In the game of successes, Benzema can also claim the La Liga trophy acquired by Real last weekend, in a championship that the French, largely in top scorer (26), also dominates individually. But there are still a few major national and European events that could reshuffle the cards.

It is a meeting with double stakes which will be played in Paris, at the end of May. At the Stade de France, Karim Benzema will find his two most serious competitors on the road to the Ballon d’Or: Liverpool forwards Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah. The duo, involved in 16 of the Reds’ 28 goals in the competition, carried Liverpool to the last step,

If Liverpool lift the cup with big ears, the candidacies of Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah will take a little more thickness compared to that of Karim Benzema, labeled “only” finalist in this case. It would therefore not be surprising to see the Ballon d’Or return to the Senegalese or the Egyptian, in particular depending on the influence they would have had on the final, and throughout the competition. In this little game, statistically, Salah is leading the debates for the moment (8 goals, 2 assists).

The outcome of the English championship can also have an impact on the awarding of the reward. Clinging to the coattails of leader Manchester City, just one unit away, Liverpool still fully believes in its ambitions for the crown. There too, in the event of a title that tips over the banks of the Mersey, Mané and Salah (for the moment at the top of the scorers’ rankings with 22 units) would have a strong argument to make, especially in the event of a European victory in parallel. They can still also pocket the FA Cup, of which they play the final in mid-May against Chelsea.

And even if the Reds only hang the championship, and not the Champions League, Sadio Mané can still save the results of his season with Senegal’s historic victory at the CAN last February, where he scored the decisive penalty in final, against Salah’s Egypt.

With the World Cup, major international competition of the year, shifted to November and December, the African Cup was the only opportunity to show itself in a context at stake, with the jersey of the selection. In the same vein, the first days of the group stage of the League of Nations, in June, should not weigh very heavily for Benzema, whatever the results. Whatever, for the moment, he is in a good position. But the fight is not over yet.


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