Seven-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel tips to win this year's Ballon D Or.

“There are no doubts; it's very clear that Benzema had a spectacular year and ended up victorious in the Champions League,” Messi told Argentine television back in May.

“He was fundamental in all the matches from the round of 16 onwards. I think there is no doubt this year.”

35-year-old Messi was absent from the 30-man shortlist for the first time since 2005, a list that includes Robert Lewandowski, Cristiano Ronaldo, , and the Argentine's teammate .

Benezma is in a league of his own

Karim Benzema surpassed Raúl to become Real Madrid's second-highest goal scorer of all-time during last week's UEFA Super Cup victory. Ronaldo is the only player in the club's history with more.

34-year-old Benzema is enjoying the most productive stint of his Real Madrid career in 2021/22, scoring 44 and providing 15 assists in 46 matches.

The Ballon d'Or award ceremony takes place on October 17 at the Théâtre Châtelet in Paris

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Photo: Twitter/@MadridXtra