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Messi Tips Benzema For ‘Deserved’ Ballon d’Or

According to seven-time winner Lionel Messi, Real Madrid’s France star Karim Benezema deserves to win the Ballon d’Or.

Benzema played a key role in Real Madrid’s Champions League triumph this season, which included a 1-0 victory over Liverpool in Paris on Saturday.

Benzema’s back-to-back hat-tricks in the knockout rounds, beginning with a 17-minute treble against Messi’s Paris Saint-Germain to erase a 2-0 aggregate deficit, were important in producing the momentum that propelled the Spaniards to victory.

“There’s no doubt, it’s very clear that Benzema has had a spectacular year and has ended it by winning the Champions League,” Messi told Argentine channel TyC Sports.

“He was crucial from the last-16 onwards in every match and I think there’s no doubt” that Benzema deserves to win the Ballon d’Or.

Messi was speaking just days before a friendly match between the two continental champions at Wembley Stadium.

The “Finalissima” is a competition between the South American Copa America champions and the European champions, where many Argentines had ancestors.

However, although Argentina breezed through qualification for the Qatar World Cup later this year with several games to spare, Italy was shocked to be left out after losing in a play-off to tiny North Macedonia.

“What happened with Italy is crazy, having won the Euros and not being at the World Cup, given Italy’s history at the World Cup,” he said.

“If Italy had been at the World Cup they would have been one of the favorites. They were unlucky. No one would have wanted to play them.”

The 34-year-old spent his entire career with Barcelona before joining PSG a year ago, where he has struggled to replicate his greatest form.

He said it was a “tough transition” and that he was “sobbing” the first day he drove his children to school in Paris.

Messi believes the virus has left “scars” in his lungs after contracting it towards the end of 2021, and he also said the Champions League defeat to Real was “a difficult blow.”

BTL Blogger: Augustine Emmanuel

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