Mane backing Real Madrid striker Benzema to win Ballon d'Or 'by a distance'

Karim Benzema Real Madrid 2022-23Getty Images
  • Messi the current holder
  • Benzema & Mane battling to win 2022 award
  • Frenchman is the clear favourite

WHAT HAPPENED? As with most years, it is seemingly quite obvious who the recipient of this year's Ballon d'Or will be on October 17. Benzema is the runaway favourite to win it for the first time in his career and one of his main competitors believes he is fully deserving of the coveted award.

WHAT HE SAID: “Honestly, I think that Benzema deserves, by a distance, to win to the Ballon d’Or this year," Mane told AS. "And I am very happy for him. His season with Madrid was spectacular, ending up winning the Champions League.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Mane has a genuine chance at winning the Ballon d'Or himself having led Senegal to a famous African Cup of Nations triumph whilst enjoying a productive 2021-22 campaign with Liverpool. Had the Reds beaten Benzema's Real Madrid in the final, he would certainly have a greater chance of lifting the award.

STORY IN THREE PHOTOS:

Karim Benzema Sadio Mane Real Madrid Liverpool 2020-21Getty ImagesKarim Benzema Real Madrid Champions League trophy 2021-22Getty ImagesKarim BenzemaGetty

WHAT NEXT FOR BENZEMA? A continuation of the success Real Madrid have enjoyed will be high on the 34-year-old's agenda. Although, perhaps even higher on that list will be the World Cup with France after his return to the national set-up since Didier Deschamps' side lifted the trophy in Russia.

One hand on the award?

Has Benzema already got his name written on the 2022 Ballon d'Or?