‘There are no doubts this year’: Lionel Messi claims Karim Benzema is clearly the top contender for the Ballon d’Or – but hits back at Robert Lewandowski after pipping him to the 2021 award
- Lionel Messi has insisted there is ‘no doubt’ about the 2022 Ballon d’Or winner
- The record seven-time winner backed Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema for the gong
- But PSG forward Messi hit back at Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski
- Polish star Lewandowski claimed he should have won the 2021 award, not Messi
- But the Argentine insisted he was the rightful winner of last year’s Ballon d’Or
Lionel Messi has insisted there is ‘no doubt’ in his mind Karim Benzema should win this year’s Ballon d’Or award.
Real Madrid striker Benzema, 34, is favourite for the prestigious gong after scoring 44 goals in 46 games in all competitions this season, helping Los Blancos to the Champions League and LaLiga titles with some inspirational performances.
And the incumbent award holder Messi – a record seven-time winner – claimed to Argentine TV station TyC Sports that French star Benzema was a shoo-in.
Lionel Messi (second right) has backed Karim Benzema (second left) to win the Ballon d’Or
Real Madrid striker Benzema, 34, is favourite for the prestigious gong after scoring 44 goals in 46 games this season, helping his Los Blancos side to the Champions League and LaLiga titles
He said: ‘I think there are no doubts this year.
‘It is very clear that Benzema had a spectacular year and ended up victorious in the Champions League, being essential from the last 16 onwards in all the games.’
And Messi also addressed controversy regarding the two previous awards – when Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski was widely seen as deserving the 2020 award before it was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
And the Paris Saint-Germain forward hit back at Robert Lewandowski’s comments about the 2021 award after the Argentine pipped the Bayern Munich striker to last year’s gong (pictured)
Messi – who urged authorities to give Lewandowski the 2020 award – pipped the Pole in 2021, and Lewandowski admitted he was disappointed, leading Messi to respond by saying he was ‘not interested’ in what his rival has to say on the matter.
The Argentine added: ‘Obviously he can express himself and say what he wants. I honestly don’t share what he said but I didn’t give it much importance either. That’s it, it stayed there and he can say what he wants and I’m not interested.
‘But the words I said at that moment were from the heart and because I really felt that way. I said he deserved the Ballon d’Or before, because the year before I thought he was the best, but the year I won it was not the best. I just said that’.
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