Saturday, June 15News That Matters

Eden Hazard reveals his pick for the 2022 Ballon d’Or

Real Madrid attacker Eden Hazard says he is fully backing his teammate Karim Benzema to win the 2022 Ballon d’Or.

The nominees for the award for the best individual footballer of the year won’t be revealed until October, with the winner set to be announced in November, but that hasn’t stopped players, pundits and managers sharing who they think deserves it.

Benzema is the overwhelming favourite for the Ballon d’Or after an incredible season where he captained Real to the La Liga title and a 14th Champions League triumph.

The 34-year-old finished as the top scorer in both competitions, playing a key role in Los Blancos’ knockout games against PSG, Chelsea, and Manchester City, and finishing the campaign on 44 goals and 15 assists in 46 games.

‘I think he deserves it. You know, there’s no doubt about it,’ Hazard told ESPN.

‘But I think he deserves it not just for that season, but for his whole career, you know? It’s like he’s been at the top for 15 years.

‘Maybe he’s scoring more goals, which is why people just want him to win this Ballon d’Or, but I think he deserved it before, like five years ago.

‘He’s our captain now and he’s also, like, a really good guy, you know? He’s not talking that much on the pitch, doing what he wants.

‘He’s our leader. So, we just pushed him to go for the Ballon d’Or.’

Hazard is the latest big name to throw support behind Benzema, with Lionel Messi, Thierry Henry and Mesut Ozil among those routing for the Frenchman to win.

Benzema has been nominated for the Ballon d’Or nine times before now but a fourth-place finish at last year’s ceremony is the closest he has ever come to the trophy.

His closest rivals for this year’s award will likely be Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah after they came agonisingly close to winning an unprecedented quadruple with Liverpool, with Mane, now playing for Bayern, also winning the Africa Cup of Nations with Senegal.

Other names in the running according to Betfair include, Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi, Virgil van Dijk, Kevin De Bruyne and Lewandowski.


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