Both Benzema and Salah already boast of illustrious club careers. They have won every trophy available in Spanish and English domestic leagues respectively and have tasted the Champions Trophy. Benzema has already won four Champions League Trophies with Madrid while Salah has won it once with Liverpool.

Their personal trophy case also is full with individual accolades. But there is one award that has eluded them so far. That one award would elevate their legacies to the next level and place them alongside the best players ever to lace up a pair of boots in Europe. That award, of course, is the coveted Ballon d’Or.

The Ballon d’Or is awarded to the best player that season in European football. Both of them have been chasing that award for a few seasons but have always fallen a bit short. This season they are the prime candidates for the accolade, which is expected to be given in October.

The leader of Madrid

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Benzema has filled in the giant shoes of Cristiano Ronaldo since 2018. The French forward became the central figure of Real Madrid after Ronaldo’s departure from the club. He comes down the pitch to play the role of a playmaker, produces moments of brilliance whenever required, leads the team on the field and while being the most efficient striker going around in the football world right now.

Benzema’s form in Real Madrid has been unreal this season. In 11 matches, he has found the back of the net 15 times. 10 of those goals came in the knock-out phase of the competition. He is now the joint highest scorer in the knockout phase of a single season of the Champions League alongside old teammate Cristiano Ronaldo.

The bold Egyptian

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Salah, on the other hand, has transformed from a skilled but inconsistent player to one of the best footballers going around in the world under Jurgen Klopp in Liverpool.

Klopp’s Liverpool plays a high press, attacking brand of football and Salah is the crown jewel of his three-man frontline. Salah is also enjoying his most successful season in Champions League so far with eight goals in 12 appearances.

The 29-year-old Egyptian is in the prime of his playing career and is not shying away from making bold the statement of being the best player in the world right now. But to substantiate his claim, the forward needs a Ballon d’Or trophy in his showcase.

Ironically, the final will take place in Paris, the city where the latest Ballon d’Or winner plays his club football. Lionel Messi won his seventh Ballon d’Or in 2021 but this time the Argentine is not a candidate for the award after not having a ‘Messi-esque’ season in his new club Paris Saint-Germain.

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Benzema and Salah are the prime candidates to succeed Messi. In all likeliness, whoever out of the two lifts the Champions League trophy in Paris is likely to pose with the Ballon d’Or award a few months down the line.

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