Rarely in the modern era does it appear that there is such a strong consensus on who should win an individual award. However Sadio Mane has joined the growing number of voices calling for Karim Benzema to win the Ballon d’Or.
Speaking to the Diario AS after Bayern Munich’s victory over Viktoria Plzen, Mane explained that he thought it should be a comfortable victory for Benzema.
“Honestly, I think that Benzema deserves, by a distance, to win to the Ballon d’Or this year. And I am very happy for him. His season with Madrid was spectacular, ending up wining the Champions League.”
It was then put to him that he had also won the African Cup of Nations this year, perhaps improving his chances.
“Winning the African Cup of Nations was an absolute liberation for me and for the whole country. It’s something I am enormously proud of, but I insist, I think Benzema deserves it more, I say so sincerely.”
Mane and Benzema clashed in the Champions League final and it was only a fine performance from Thibaut Courtois that kept the Senegalese from scoring and potentially changing the course of the match.
However Benzema was instrumental in each round of the knockout stages on Real Madrid’s way to the final. Over the season, he contributed directly to 59 goals in 46 matches and has to be considered a strong favourite. Traditionally the Ballon d’Or has favoured competition winners and Benzema won the two biggest titles available to him.