Zinedine Zidane and Arsene Wenger weigh-in on this year’s Ballon d’Or debate

Former Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane and ex-Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger have revealed who they believe deserves to win this year’s coveted Ballon d’Or award

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  • 15:43, 17 Oct 2021
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Zinedine Zidane and Arsene Wenger have weighed-in on this year's Ballon d'Or debate.

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The French pair have joined countless big names across the footballing world to discuss who deserves to win the coveted award, which will be handed out on November 29 following its controversial 2020 absence due to the global pandemic.

And the two have, rather unsurprisingly, backed compatriot Karim Benzema, who phenomenally boasts 11 goals and seven assists in 15 games for Real Madrid and France this season.

The 33-year-old is still considered to be behind the three leaders of the Ballon d'Or race, those being Lionel Messi, Robert Lewandowski and Chelsea midfielder Jorginho.

Zidane and Wenger, however, have laid out why they believe Benzema deserves to win.

Benzema has enjoyed a remarkable start to the season

"Benzema deserves the Ballon d’Or," stated his former manager in Madrid, Zidane, to French outlet Telefoot.

"He’s an incredible player, I’ve had the great honour of managing him. He can do it all on a pitch.

"He’s a cut above, and I hope he’ll be rewarded for it with this Ballon d’Or."

Wenger also pointed out that there is no clear favourite for the award but admitted the lack of trophies could hinder Benzema.

"There are no untouchables this year," the ex- Arsenal boss claimed.

"In his individual performances and consistency, Benzema is at a top level.

"The question is, does the weight of trophies play a decisive role?"

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The striker's return to the France setup after an six-year absence has seen him garner further praise after starring for Les Blues at Euro 2020 and in the recent UEFA Nations League finals.

Tottenham Hotspur's Hugo Lloris, his international captain, explained that his team-mate "leads by example" in a glowing assessment of Benzema following his crucial goal in their Nations League final victory over Spain.

"In terms of what he does on the pitch and his statistics.

"He deserves all the credit that he’s getting."

Former Real No.9 Ronaldo is also backing the leading La Liga goalscorer, recently saying: "Without a doubt, my candidate for the Ballon d’Or is Benzema.

"The best forward in the world, [an] incredibly high level for 10 years and a champion above all.

"Worthy of the award, don’t you think?"

The Brazilian legend may think Benzema is the world's best forward, but Lewandowski and Romelu Lukaku will certainly have something to say about that claim.

They, alongside ex- Liverpool talisman Luis Suarez, were also included in France Football's 30-man shortlist earlier this month.

Cristiano Ronaldo is also in the reckoning, much like stars Mohamed Salah, Kevin De Bruyne and Kylian Mbappe.

Jorginho's two European winners' medals stand him in good stead to make the top three, voted for by journalists and broadcasters from FIFA 's 176 nations.

Messi is looking to pick up his seventh Ballon d'Or but his slow start to life at Paris Saint-Germain could hinder him despite sensational form for Barcelona in 2021 and leading Argentina to the Copa America over the summer.

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