Karim Benzema has come into his own in the last year, continuing the process of development into a true star that began with the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo three years ago.
He’s now maybe the biggest name in La Liga, and without doubt the most in-form. He’s also been restored to the France team, winning the Nations League this week.
Marca had some really interesting quotes from the Frenchman who explained how proud he was to be making a return for his national team, and to be in contention for the Ballon d’Or.
“It means a lot to me,” he said of his first title with France.
“I’m very proud of my work after five years without being in the squad. It’s been hard work, physically and mentally, and I’m excited to keep working and winning titles.”
The fear was always that Benzema’s addition to the squad would upset the delicate balance that Didier Deschamps had in place, and it looked like that might have come true at the Euros, when France crashed out against Switzerland, with recriminations on all sides.
But recovering to win the Nations League has done a lot to help morale, and they will be among the favourites for the Qatar World Cup without question.