Mesut Ozil and Rio Ferdinand have called on Karim Benzema to win the 2022 Ballon d’Or after he continued his stunning season with two goals against Manchester City.
Real Madrid striker Benzema took his tally to 41 goals in 41 appearances with a goal in either half against City in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final at the Etihad.
He is also the leading scorer in the Champions League with 14 goals, one clear of Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski.
Lewandowski came second in the Ballon d’Or last year behind Lionel Messi, but Ozil thinks his former Real team-mate Benzema should win the award in October.
“What a fantastic game. Give my boy Benzi the Ballon D’Or,” tweeted Ozil, who played with Benzema during his time at Real from 2010 to 2013.
Former Manchester United defender Ferdinand agreed with Ozil’s assessment, quoting his post with the word: “Facts”.
Benzema scored Real’s first goal at the Etihad before netting the third with a Panenka penalty.
His team-mate Vinicius Junior also said he “deserves” to be crowned Ballon d’Or winner.
“There are no words that can describe how Benzema plays. He deserves the Ballon d’Or,” he said.
“I hope my brother Benzema ends up winning La Liga, Champions League and Ballon d’Or.”
The second leg at the Bernabeu takes place on Wednesday, May 4.
Benzema joined Real from Lyon in 2009 and at the age of 34 is enjoying arguably his best-ever season.
He finished fourth in last year’s Ballon d’Or voting with 239 points, well behind Lionel Messi, who won his seventh trophy with 613 points.
However, his chances of scooping the award in 2022 might have been improved by a change of criteria which means players will now be judged over the course of a typical club season rather than a calendar year.