Kylian Mbappe suggests Karim Benzema would have to “stop thinking about the Ballon d’Or forever” if he did not win the top individual award this year.
Benzema is the favorite among the 30 Ballon d’Or nominations announced by France Football on Friday.
The announcement marked the end of an era, with last year’s winner Lionel Messi missing from the shortlist for the first time since 2005.
Mbappe is at the forefront of the next generation of contenders and told France Football that he will take the podium alongside Benzema and Sadio Mane in 2022.
But the striker’s France team-mate Benzema is clearly a deserving winner as he inspired Real Madrid to LaLiga and Champions League glory.
Indeed, Mbappe feels Benzema will never take home the Ballon d’Or unless it’s his year.
“Of course. He’s 34 years old, he’s just had the season of his life, won another Champions League by being decisive often,” the Paris Saint-Germain forward told France Football.
“Instead of Karim, if I don’t win there [in this position], I’ll stop thinking about the Ballon d’Or forever.”
It’s been a great week for Benzema, who surpassed Raul as Madrid’s second-highest scorer in the midweek Super Cup win over Eintracht Frankfurt, while he was shortlisted for the UEFA Player of the Year award ahead of his Ballon d’Or nomination. .
But before the game in Helsinki, Benzema said: “I’m not like that when it comes to whether I’m the best or not. I always give everything for this club, the best club in the world.”
“Every year I have to give more and more. It’s true that I had a very good season, but other people can comment if I’m the best in the world. I focus on helping my team in the matches, that’s all, he can say.
“I don’t think about [the Ballon d’Or]; trophies can be won every year, that’s very important. I always emphasize the importance of team success leading to individual success.”
Los Blancos coach Carlo Ancelotti said after Madrid’s victory that there is “no doubt” that Benzema is the best player in the world.