“Hopefully to be in the squad for the FIFA World Cup”: Karim Benzema after winning the Ballon d’Or | football news

Karim Benzema says he has become more ambitious with age as the Real Madrid and France forward won the Ballon d’Or on Monday, dedicating his trophy “to the people”. Benzema, who turns 35 in December the day after the World Cup final, is five months older than Lionel Messi when Argentina won football’s most coveted individual award for the seventh time last year. In fact, he is the oldest winner since England’s Stanley Mathews won the first Ballon d’Or in 1956.

“Winning this trophy has always been on my mind, but what has changed since I turned 30 is the ambition,” Benzema said after receiving the award at a ceremony at the Théâtre du Chatellet in Paris.

Benzema was only 21 when he joined Real Madrid from Lyon in 2009. He has been strong in the Spanish capital since Cristiano Ronaldo left in 2018 when Benzema was 30.

“Ambition really got into my head afterwards.

Ambition means working hard and being a leader for my team and I’m lucky to play for Real Madrid, the best club in the world.

“When I was 21 or 22, I didn’t have all the ambitions I have now.”

Benzema was awarded for scoring 44 goals in 46 games last season when Real Madrid won the Champions League and La Liga.

– ‘Difficult moments’ –

He also won the UEFA Nations League with France, completing an extraordinary career resurgence for a player who was expelled from the national team for five and a half years due to his involvement in a sextape blackmail scandal involving his teammate. team Mathieu Valbuena. was.

“I had a hard time when I wasn’t playing for the national team and so I was alone in Valdebebas (Madrid’s gym) when everyone was playing for their national team.

“I am very happy and very proud of the work I have done”.

On stage, Benzema called his award “The People’s Golden Ball,” in a statement he later said was not supposed to be political, but “where I’m from.”

Among those who publicly praised Benzema was French President Emmanuel Macron, who did so on Twitter.

“Thanks to the president. He is good, ”Benzema said.

“When I play football, I don’t go out thinking I have to please someone.

“I just try to give people emotions. I know people are proud of me today and that’s why I said it was their Ballon d’Or. “

Benzema overtook Sadio Mane, with Kevin de Bruyne completing the podium and Robert Lewandowski fourth.

Now he is aiming for the World Cup with France in November and December, when Les Blaes lifted the trophy in Russia in 2018.

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“I am always ambitious. I want to go to the World Cup with France “, she said.

“There are things that are yet to come. I can’t wait to go to the World Cup for Qatar and be on the team to do everything to win it.

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