Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema won his first Ballon d’Or on Monday, finishing above Bayern Munich’s Sadio Mané and Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne, respectively. Almost every current and former colleague of Benzema congratulated him on becoming the first Frenchman to bag the golden ball since Zinedine Zidane.
His current Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti compared the 34-year-old striker to wine which gets better with time. As quoted by L’Équipe, the Italian said:
“The moment he (Benzema) impressed me the most last season was at halftime in the quarter-final first leg against Chelsea. He had just scored two fantastic headed goals but when he returned to the locker room, he was very angry and I didn’t understand why. He said to me, ‘I missed a chance but don’t worry, I will score another goal.’ And he did score as soon as he returned to the pitch by pressing Mendy (the Chelsea goalkeeper). That says a lot about his mentality and his commitment.
“At 34, his professionalism, attitude, his humility are remarkable. He’s like wine, it gets better with time. I am very happy for him, and I wish him to fight to win a second Ballon d’Or. Karim is football. He is not a pure striker, not just a goalscorer, he is football. There are very few players like him.”
GIFN | Jyotirmoy Halder