Soccer News: Platini: Benzema must compete in World Cup to ‘justify his status’ as Ballon d’Or winner

    Karim Benzema needs to do well for France at the upcoming World Cup to “justify his status” as a Ballon d’Or winner, claims Michel Platini.

    Benzema ended his career-best 2021/22 season with 44 goals and 15 assists to help Real Madrid score a double in La Liga and the Champions League.

    The 34-year-old’s amazing campaign was enough to win his first Ballon d’Or among the likes of Robert Lewandowski and Sadio Mane.

    But Platini, who won the Ballon d’Or three years in a row from 1983 to 1985, believes there is now more pressure on Benzema to compete at the World Cup in Qatar starting next month.

    “He achieved the Grail with the Ballon d’Or,” Platini told RMC Sport. “He has a big responsibility to be the best player in the world and the World Cup is coming.

    “He has to be at the top to live up to his status.”

    Benzema returned from a six-year exodus with the national team at Euro 2020, scoring four goals in four matches as France were eliminated in the round of 16.

    He hopes to help the Blues defend their World Cup crown starting with their first group game against Australia on November 22, though Platini believes Benzema is already on his way to becoming a French football icon.

    “Benzema is becoming a legend in French football,” Platini added. “Winning the Ballon d’Or puts you in the ranks of football greats.”

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