Real Madrid star Karim Benzema hopes to follow Zidane and Ronaldo’s footsteps and win Ballon d’Or

Karim Benzema is hoping to follow his ‘idols’ Zidane and Ronaldo by winning the Ballon d’Or, as the 33-year-old Real Madrid star admits the prize has been a ‘dream since childhood’

  • Karim Benzema hopes to emulate childhood idols by winning Ballon d’Or
  • Ronaldo won award in 1997 and then in 2002 after joining Real Madrid
  • Zinedine Zidane says Benzema ‘deserves’ to be recognised with Ballon d’Or
  • Frenchman won three Champions Leagues and two LaLiga titles under Zidane
  • Benzema leads LaLiga in goals and assists this season and won Nations League 

Real Madrid star Karim Benzema said emulating Zinedine Zidane and Ronaldo by winning the Ballon d’Or would fulfil a childhood dream.

The Frenchman is among the 30 players who were shortlisted for the award earlier this month and is confident he can follow in the footsteps of two of his idols, both of whom preceded him at the Santiago Bernabeu.

‘Win the Ballon d’Or? Yes, that would be one of the many dreams I have had since childhood,’ Benzema told French broadcaster Canal+.

France and Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema believes he can win the Ballon d’Or this year

‘Of course I dreamed of it as a kid.

‘My idols, whether it’s R9 [former Brazil striker Ronaldo] or Zizou [Zidane], they came to Real Madrid and won the Ballon d’Or. 

‘And that’s one of the little things I think about. Today, I’m not far from it.’

Ronaldo won the Ballon d’Or in 1997 after his solitary season with Barcelona and added a second five years later in recognition for his stellar performances at the 2002 World Cup, which he won with Brazil. 

Benzema won two LaLiga titles and three Champions League under Zinedine Zidane (right)

Benzema won two LaLiga titles and three Champions League under Zinedine Zidane (right)

Ronaldo won the award in 1997

Zidane received the accolade the following year

Benzema said he hoped to to emulate his idols Zidane and Ronaldo and win the award

Zidane, meanwhile, scooped up the accolade in 1998 following a stellar campaign in which he won Serie A with Juventus and scored twice in France’s World Cup final triumph over Brazil. 

He was also named FIFA’s World Player of the Year in 1998, 2000 and 2003 before that prize was merged with the Ballon d’Or.

The Frenchman moved to the Bernabeu in the summer of 2001 and was joined a year later by Ronaldo, who was FIFA’s World Player of the Year in 1996, 1997 and 2002.

Benzema won two LaLiga titles and three Champions Leagues while playing under Zidane at Real Madrid, and the latter believes his compatriot deserves to be recognised when the winner is announced in Paris on November 29.

Benzema scored in both the semi-final and final of the Nations League as France won it

Benzema scored in both the semi-final and final of the Nations League as France won it

2021 Ballon d’Or 30-man shortlist 

  • Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea)
  • Nicolo Barella (Inter Milan)
  • Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)
  • Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus)
  • Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)
  • Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus)
  • Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)
  • Ruben Dias (Manchester City)
  • Gianluigi Donnarumma (PSG)
  • Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United)
  • Phil Foden (Manchester City)
  • Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund)
  • Jorginho (Chelsea)
  • Harry Kane (Tottenham)
  • N’Golo Kante (Chelsea)
  • Simon Kjaer (AC Milan)
  • Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)
  • Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea)
  • Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City)
  • Lautaro Martinez (Inter Milan)
  • Kylian Mbappe (PSG)
  • Lionel Messi (PSG)
  • Luka Modric (Real Madrid)
  • Gerard Moreno (Villarreal)
  • Mason Mount (Chelsea)
  • Neymar (PSG)
  • Pedri (Barcelona)
  • Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
  • Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)
  • Luis Suarez (Atletico Madrid)


‘We are talking about a player who deserves to win this Ballon d’Or,’ Zidane told Telefoot.

‘He’s an incredible player, I had the great honor of coaching him. 

‘He associates easily with others. 

‘He knows how to do everything in the field. I hope he can be rewarded with this Ballon d’Or.’

Benzema finished as LaLiga’s second-most prolific scorer last season with 24 goals – the second-highest tally since he joined Real in 2009 – and has started the current campaign on the front foot.

He leads LaLiga in goals and assists and scored in both the semi-final and final of the UEFA Nations League as France ended up lifting the trophy.

Benzema and Luka Modric, who won the award in 2018, are the only two Real Madrid players in the 30-man list.

Benzema is also joined on the shortlist by France’s teammates N’Golo Kante and Kylian Mbappe, the latter one of four PSG players up for the award.

One of the quartet, Lionel Messi, is the bookmakers’ favourite to win the prestigious award for a record seventh time next month.

One between Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo has won the Ballon d’Or every year since 2008 with the exception of 2018 – when Modric got the nod – and last year – when the award was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.  

Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski and Chelsea midfielder Jorginho, who won the Champions League and Euro 2020 last season, are also considered among the favourites to scoop up the accolade.

The Brazilian-born Italy international is one of five Chelsea players nominated for the award, along with fellow Kante, Mason Mount, Cesar Azpilicueta and Romelu Lukaku.