France manager Didier Deschamps has backed striker Karim Benzema to win the 2022 Ballon d'Or. He said that the Real Madrid captain's performances for club and country have been worthy of winning the coveted prize.
Benzema, 34, has been in sensational form since the start of last year. He has scored 44 goals and provided 15 assists in 46 matches in all competitions for Real Madrid.
He helped France win the UEFA Nations League in 2021, scoring in the semifinals as well as the final.
The veteran striker is currently out recovering from a knee injury.
In his absence, Les Blues were beaten 2-0 by Denmark in their 2022-23 UEFA Nations League match on Sunday. After the match, Deschamps was asked about the possibility of Benzema winning the 2022 Ballon d'Or. He said (via RMC Sport):
"I hope it will be him because he deserves it, because of what he has done in this sporting season with his club where he won important titles. And with us, too, where he was there in the fall ... to win the Nations League."
"He has been one of the best strikers in the world for years. I think he is very well positioned and I would be very happy for him if he had that award. He already has some. Obtained one with the Champions League. … Obviously it is an added advantage for us at the World Cup."
While scoring a huge number of goals last season, Benzema helped Real Madrid win the Supercopa de Espana, the La Liga title and the UEFA Champions League. Hence, he is more than likely to win the Ballon d'Or this year.
Kaka on Karim Benzema's chances at winning 2022 Ballon d'Or
While the Frenchman is the favorite to win the award, his former Real Madrid teammate Kaka believes that it isn't a guarantee yet.
Speaking about the 2022 Ballon d'Or and Benzema, Kaka said:
"I think he is a very favorite, although, you can never say 100% that they are going to give it to him. Karim is now a very complete player and the award would be well deserved."
Benzema won the UEFA Men's Player of the Year in August.
He registered four goals and one assist in six matches across all competitions this season for Real Madrid before suffering a knee injury. He is expected to return for their clash against Osasuna at home on October 2.
Meanwhile, the 2022 Ballon d'Or ceremony will take place on October 17.