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Real Madrid and France striker Karim Benzema deserves to win the Ballon d’Or this year after helping to guide his team to the UEFA Champions League title, Lionel Messi, seven-times winner of the prestigious award, said on Monday.

Benzema had the best season of his 13-year career at Real, scoring 44 goals with 15 assists in all competitions as they won a LaLiga-Champions League double.

The 34-year-old topped the scoring charts in both competitions and netted hat tricks against Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea in the knockout stages to secure Real Madrid’s progress.

Messi said on Argentine television:

There are no doubts, it’s very clear that Benzema had a spectacular year and ended up victorious in the Champions League.

He was fundamental in all the matches from the round of 16 onwards. I think there is no doubt this year.”

The Real Madrid game killed us, me and everyone in the dressing room. We had a lot of hope. It makes me want to win again.

But the best team doesn’t always win the Champions League. I don’t take credit away from Real Madrid, they weren’t the best in this competition and yet they beat everyone.

The Ballon d’Or award for the best football player in the world will be presented on Oct. 17, with the nominees set to be revealed on Aug. 12.

The trophy will now be awarded on the basis of a regular season from August to July rather than a calendar year.

Real Madrid’s 1-0 win over Liverpool gave them their 14th European Cup triumph — twice as many as the next most successful team AC Milan.

By Amara

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