Lionel Messi Karim Benzema PSG Real Madrid 2021-22Getty Images

Messi has 'no doubts' Benzema should win Ballon d'Or after Real Madrid's Champions League triumph

Paris Saint-Germain star Lionel Messi says he has "no doubts" longtime Real Madrid rival Karim Benzema should win the Ballon d'Or this year after triumphing in the Champions League final over Liverpool on Saturday.

Messi spent the majority of his career at Barcelona going head-to-head with Benzema in La Liga, however he still recognises the achievements of the French striker.

Additionally, Messi commented on last year's Ballon d'Or race and subsequent remarks made by Robert Lewandowski suggesting the Argentine was insincere in his acceptance speech, although the Polish forward has since said his words were misinterpreted.

Article continues below

What did Messi say about Benzema?

"I think there are no doubts Benzema should win Ballon d'Or," Messi told TyC Sports. "It is very clear that Benzema had a spectacular year and ended up elevating himself with the Champions League, being essential from the last 16 onwards in all the games. I think there are no doubts this year."

Benzema scored 15 goals in the Champions League, including the winners in the knockout rounds against PSG, Chelsea and Manchester City. He also won La Liga with 27 goals and 12 assists in the competition.

The French international is now clear favourite with many for this year's Ballon D'Or, and is clear at the top of GOAL's power rankings.

'I do not care about what Lewandowski says'

When accepting last year's Ballon d'Or, Messi took time in his speech to directly mention Lewandowski and say the Bayern Munich star deserved to have at least one of football's top individual honour to his name.

Lewandowski was initially quoted as saying Messi's speech contained "empty words" but later said his remarks were misinterpreted and clarified that Messi's speech "really touched" him.

Regardless, Messi has told TyC Sports that he was never interested in Lewandowski's comments.

"Everyone says what they want and obviously he can express himself and say what he wants," he said. "I honestly don't share what he said but I didn't give it much importance either. That's it, it was there and he can say what he wants and I do not care."

Messi reflects on 2021-22 season

It was at times a difficult debut campaign at PSG for the Argentine, who received whistles from fans during matches after the club's Champions League elimination at the hands of Real Madrid.

On those jeers, he said: "It was new for me, it's a different situation. It had never happened to me in Barcelona but quite the opposite. The situation of the people and the anger for the players we had, for the team we were and because another year [went without a Champions League title], the anger is understandable.

"The Real Madrid thing killed us. To me, to the entire dressing room in general, to all of Paris."

Messi also claimed Real Madrid were not the best team in the continental competition this year, although he emphasised that their inferiority in skill should not take away from their champion mentality.

"Real Madrid, without taking away their merit, much less because they are the champion of the Champions League and are always there, were not the best team in this Champions League and yet they beat them all," he said.

Further reading