Carlo Ancelotti believes Karim Benzema is capable of winning another Ballon d'Or after netting back-to-back hat-tricks for Real Madrid.
April 6, 2023
Benzema followed up his treble in last week's 6-0 LaLiga win over Real Valladolid with three more goals in Wednesday's 4-0 Copa del Rey semi-final second leg at Barcelona.
It marks the first time the former France international has scored successive hat-tricks in a Madrid career spanning 14 trophy-laden seasons.
Having won the Ballon d'Or for the first time in 2022 on the back of a superb year for Los Blancos, Ancelotti has backed Benzema to challenge for the individual accolade again.
"Why not?" Ancelotti said following his side's 4-1 aggregate victory against Barcelona. "He remains one of the best players in the world – and not just attacking players."
Benzema now has 25 goals in 31 appearances this season – a tally bettered by Robert Lewandowski (27), Marcus Rashford (28), Kylian Mbappe (31) and Erling Haaland (42).
That includes 19 goals in 19 games since the World Cup, while the 35-year-old's back-to-back hat-tricks have come straight on the back of the international break.
"The work he did during the international break helped him a lot", Ancelotti said of Benzema, who announced his latest retirement from France duty in December.
"He is in prime physical condition. With the qualities he has, he inevitably makes a difference for us".
Real Madrid will face Osasuna, who beat Athletic Bilbao, in the Copa del Rey final on May 6.