At the age of 34 and 13 years after signing for Real Madrid, Karim Benzema crowned one of the best individual seasons ever seen at the Santiago Bernabeu with the Ballon d’Or on Monday.
The award was presented to him by his former manager Zinedine Zidane, one of his greatest fans. The two worked together twice and won three Champions Leagues and two La Liga titles together.
As reported by Diario AS, Zidane has had an emotional letter of love to Benzema in L’Equipe, speaking about many various aspects of his game and personality that have helped him to where he is today.
Zidane also commented that he had predicted the award itself.
“When I was his coach, I told Karim that one day he would win the Ballon d’Or. He has never been obsessed with this award, but I told him that if he didn’t give up, he would end up winning it. He deserves this Ballon d’Or and I’m very happy for him. Yes, it is true that twenty-four years later, he could not have dreamed of a better heir.”
He ended his letter by declaring Benzema the best French striker of all time, in his view.
“The best striker in the history of French football? I don’t like to say ‘he’s the best’, everyone has their favourite player. Some will say that it is Jean-Pierre Papin with his exceptional goals, others will speak of Michel Platini… For me, it is Karim, yes, because I have been close to him and I know what he is worth. In any case, he deserves to be at the top. I wish him to continue breaking records and shining on the pitch for a long time, both with Real Madrid and with the French national team. He is capable of shining even more.”
Benzema declared during the Ballon d’Or ceremony that his next goal is to win the World Cup again. Certainly France have the talent to make a second straight assault on the competition.