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Karim Benzema thanks Lionel Messi for Ballon d'Or backing

PSG's Lionel Messi and Real Madrid's Karim Benzema in the teams' Champions League last-16 clash at the Santiago Bernabeu.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema has thanked Lionel Messi after the Paris Saint-Germain forward backed the Frenchman to win this year's Ballon d'Or.

Messi, a seven-time winner of the prestigious individual prize, told TYC Sports in Argentina that the France forward deserved to claim it this summer.

"I think there are no doubts," Messi said. "It's very clear that Benzema had a spectacular year and he ended up consecrating himself with the Champions League.

"He was fundamental from the last 16 onwards, in all of the matches. I think there are no doubts this year."

After scoring for France in their 2-1 defeat against Denmark in the UEFA Nations League on Friday, Benzema was asked about Messi's remarks.

"I heard Messi's words and they made me very happy," he said. "Very pleased to hear that from a player like him.

"They give me motivation to achieve more things."

Benzema is the clear favourite to win the Ballon d'Or after leading Real Madrid to the Champions League and LaLiga in 2021-22, with the prize to be awarded for performances over the season this time instead of across the calendar year.

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Ben Hayward is Weekend Editor for FourFourTwo. A European football writer with over 15 years’ experience, he has covered games all over the world - including three World Cups, several Champions League finals, Euros, Copa América - and has spent much of that time in Spain. He currently divides his time between Barcelona and London.