13 crazy stats that show why Karim Benzema deserves the Ballon d’Or

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Karim Benzema celebrates after Real Madrid win the Champions League final. Stade de France, 28th May, 2022.

Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema enjoyed a sensational 2021-22 season and is now the overwhelming favourite to win the Ballon d’Or.

After winning the UEFA Nations League with France, Benzema then added another Supercopa de Espana, La Liga and Champions League to his CV.

The striker played an integral role in that success and was in the best goalscoring form of his career throughout the 2021-22 season.

He looks set to win the Ballon d’Or, which now takes into account players’ performances during a season and not a calendar year. 

“The argument is over with the Ballon d’Or,” former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand said on BT Sport after the Champions League final. “If Benzema doesn’t get it it’s a travesty.”

And we’ve rounded up 13 remarkable stats from the 34-year-old’s quite frankly batsh*t mental season.

– Benzema registered 44 goals and 15 assists in 46 appearances in all competitions for Madrid in 2021-22 and averaged a direct goal contribution every 66.42 minutes.

– The striker got either a goal or assist in 32 of the 46 club games he appeared in during 2021-22.

– He registered more direct goal contributions than Robert Lewandowski (57), Mohamed Salah (47), Erling Haaland (37) and Ciro Immobile (36) in 2021-22.

Having registered 27 goals and 12 assists in the league, Benzema was directly responsible for 48.75% of Madrid’s La Liga goals in 2021-22.

The France international finished as the top scorer in La Liga, nine ahead of second-placed Iago Aspas. He was also second on the assists chart after Ousmane Dembele.

– He scored 15 goals in the Champions League in 2021-22, the joint-third most in any single-season Champions League campaign.

– Benzema scored more Champions League goals than 23 of the teams who qualified for the competition this season, including Juventus, Manchester United, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Inter and Borussia Dortmund. 

– He also got two assists in the Champions League in 2021-22 and averaged a direct goal contribution in the competition every 65 minutes. 

– The 34-year-old scored 10 goals in the Champions League knockout stages in 2021-22, the joint-most by a player in a single campaign along with Cristiano Ronaldo in 2016-17.

He became only the fourth player to score in both legs of the quarter-final and semi-final in a single Champions League campaign after Fernando Morientes, Neymar and Edin Dzeko.

– Benzema became just the second player to score consecutive Champions League hat-tricks in the knockout stage – the other was Ronaldo, who bagged three against Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid in 2017.

During the Champions League era, he is just the fourth player to win the Pichichi trophy [La Liga’s top goalscorer] and the Champions League Golden Boot in the same season.

Benzema also got five goals and an assist in seven France games in 2021-22, including the equaliser against Spain in their UEFA Nations League final win.

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