Mohammed Badra (EFE) Paris (France), 17/10/2022.- Karim Benzema (2-R) of Real Madrid poses with the Men'Äôs Ballon d'Or Trophy next to former Ivorian soccer player Didier Drogba (L), former soccer player Zinedine Zidane (2-L) and French-British TV journalist Sandy Heribert (R), during the Ballon d'Or ceremony in Paris, France, 17 October 2022. For the first time the Ballon d'Or, presented by the magazine France Football, will be awarded to the best players of the 2021-22 season instead of the calendar year. (Francia) EFE/EPA/Mohammed Badra
Karim Benzema became the fifth Frenchman to win the Ballon d’Or on Monday, receiving recognition for a remarkable 2021-22 season. In his speech, Benzema remembered Zidane and Ronaldo, two legends he saw as inspirational role models growing up.
“Ronaldo knows he is my idol. There was no striker like him. What he did on the pitch was impossible to repeat. He’s history, he’s the only striker that if I was on the bench and he was starting, I wouldn’t say anything. It’s an impossible level to reach. He’s history, not just for me, but for all strikers,” Benzema said of Ronaldo Nazario at the Thêatre Châtelet during his speech after receiving the Ballon d’Or award for his exploits last season.
The former Lyon player admitted that there is no rivalry with Robert Lewandowski and that his next objective is to win the World Cup with France.If he expected to be the best in the world at 34
“I always had the Ballon d’Or in my head. Then, what changed was after I was 30, ambition entered my head. Ambition means working harder, being more decisive. More important things in football came into my head. I said to myself, I can be a leader in the team and I’m at Madrid, the best club in the world. Because when I was 21 or 22, I didn’t have the same ambition as today. I had a difficult time, especially when I was in Valdebebas and all my team-mates were in the national team and I couldn’t be there”.What would the 34-year-old Benzema say to the 6-year-old Benzema
“I would just tell him to play football, to have his dreams, which are the Ballon d’Or, Champions League, World Cup... And to always have a smile on the pitch when he plays. Because football is one of the most important things in my life and in my job. It’s a job, but as a child, I still have the same thoughts in my head. To go and play football, to enjoy myself and to keep my head on the pitch”.If he still has a dream to fulfil
“As I always say, I have ambition. I never won the World Cup with France. Things like that are still to come. It’s a goal. I have a lot of ambition and self-confidence. To go to the World Cup, to do everything I can to win it is my goal right now”.Can he win another Ballon d’Or?
“I’m not like that. I enjoy the things I have. If I can have it once in my life, perfect. If I can have it two or three times, the same. First, you have to work to get to this moment. I have to enjoy myself, but not lower my performance on the pitch. To tell you that I’m thinking of being here again, I’ll tell you no. I know that if I do good things with my team-mates, I can be here. I enjoy all my work”.Rivalry with Lewandowski in Spain
“There is no rivalry. We are two different players. You make the rivalry. I train, I prepare... I don’t think about other players”.Real Madrid and Florentino Pérez
“Madrid is the best club in the world, but you have to be good on the pitch to get to this trophy. As I said, I have a lot of respect for Florentino because he has always been on my side. He was in very difficult moments with me. He was also with my parents in my house in Lyon to sign me for Madrid. I know he is happy for me. He makes me proud of my work because he always told me that one day I would win the Ballon d’Or”.