Vinicius Junior says “there are no words” to describe Karim Benzema’s form as he backed his Real Madrid team-mate to win this year’s Ballon d’Or.
Benzema, on his 600th appearance for Madrid, scored twice in Tuesday’s 4-3 loss to Manchester City in their Champions League semi-final first leg at the Etihad Stadium.
The France international’s first was a difficult twisting finish to drag Madrid back in the game at 2-0 down and the second a calm Panenka penalty late on to leave the tie well poised.
He now has 41 goals in as many games for Los Blancos this season, a tally bettered only by Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski (48 in 43) across Europe’s top five leagues.
The 34-year-old is the fifth Madrid player to score over 40 goals in a single season, after Cristiano Ronaldo, Ferenc Puskas, Alfredo Di Stefano and Hugo Sanchez.
Benzema also leads the scoring charts in the Champions League this term with 14, one more than Lewandowski, whose Bayern side were eliminated by Villarreal at the quarter-final stage.
Having finished behind Lionel Messi, Lewandowski and Jorginho in last year’s Ballon d’Or, Vinicius insists Benzema should land the 2022 award.
“There are no words that can describe how Benzema is playing,” Vinicius said. “He deserves the Ballon d’Or.
“I hope my brother Benzema ends up winning LaLiga, the Champions League and Ballon d’Or.”
Benzema scored a hat-trick in the second leg of the last-16 win over Paris Saint-Germain and another treble in the first leg of the quarter-final victory against Chelsea.
His nine goals in the knockout stages has been bettered only once in a single Champions League campaign – Ronaldo scoring 10 in the 2016-17 edition.
Vinicius is not alone in backing Benzema to win the Ballon d’Or, with former team-mate Mesut Ozil tweeting on Tuesday: “Give my boy Benzi the Ballon D’Or.”
Ex-Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand agreed with that assessment, quoting the tweet and adding the word “Facts”.
That post by Ferdinand was liked by Benzema, whose prospects of being crowned the world’s best player could be bolstered by helping France to World Cup glory in December.
Rather than bask in his glorious form, however, the prolific striker accepts his side have a lot of work to do if they are to advance any further in this season’s competition.
“A defeat is never good, but we are excited about this Champions League and the important thing is we never give up,” he told Movistar+.
“Now we have to go to the Bernabeu and we need the fans like never before to do something magical, which is to win.
“We entered the game without confidence, and that’s what happens with an opponent like Manchester City. In this game a little bit of everything was missing.”