‘I would always say Messi but..’- Lionel Messi’s former teammate Jordi Alba has his say on this year’s Ballon d’Or

Messi has won the individual Ballon d’Or award on seven occasions, two more than Cristiano Ronaldo.

As the date for the Ballon d’Or announcement nears, the debate around it is hotting up. Karim Benzema, on the back of his sensational form, looks set to win this year’s coveted trophy. Many former players have come out and publicly chosen the Real Madrid player to win this year’s prize.

In a recent interview, Jordi Alba, Lionel Messi’s former teammate at Barcelona, has also reiterated the general anticipation of Benzema winning Ballon d’Or this year. When asked who he feels should win the Ballon d’Or this year by AS, the Barcelona player said, “Ballon d’Or? I would always say Messi but this year Benzema deserves it.”

Notably, Messi has won the individual award on seven occasions, two more than Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United. The Argentinian, however, did not have a good first season at PSG last year as he remained injured for a significant part of it.

Meanwhile, Benzema had the season of his career at Real Madrid last year as he took the Spanish club to their 14th Champions League win. In the 2021/22 season, the French striker registered 44 goals and 15 assists in 46 competitions. He averaged a direct goal contribution every 66.42 minutes last year and was responsible for 48.75% of Real Madrid’s goals in LaLiga.

Real Madrid’s number nine scored 15 goals in last year’s Champions League campaign which featured match-winning goals in the later stages of the league against Chelsea, PSG and Manchester City. Earlier, the former German footballer Bastian Swiensteiger also lauded Benzema for his performance in 2021 and predicted him to win the Ballon d’Or.

For the unaware, Ballon d’Or is the annual football award presented by the French news magazine France Football. The award was started way back in 1956 and its history has made it the greatest individual award in the world. Messi and Ronaldo hoarded the coveted prize for 10 straight years from 2008 to 2017. It was the Croatian Luka Modric who broke their run with a win in 2018. Since then Lionel Messi has won two more Ballon d’Ors in 2019 and 2021.

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