Cristiano Ronaldo is reportedly in attendance at Monday’s Ballon d’Or ceremony as he looks to offer support to Karim Benzema.
The 37-year-old has not attended the annual gala in Paris since he last won the award in 2017. Ronaldo was nominated for the award after scoring 24 goals for Manchester United last season.
It is unlikely to win the award, but according to Le Parisienhe’s not going to be there for himself.
Benzema is the favorite to win the 2022 Ballon d’Or after captaining Real Madrid to La Liga and Champions League glory last season, scoring 44 goals in 46 games in the process.
It is believed he wants to see his former team-mate lift football’s ultimate individual prize in person.
The Portugal international snubbed the 2018, 2019 and 2021 ceremonies once it became clear he would not be receiving the gong.
Lionel Messi is the current holder but has not been nominated after an impressive debut campaign with Paris Saint-Germain.
See the full list of nominees below:
The men’s Ballon d’Or nominees: Thibaut Courtois, Rafael Leao, Christopher Nkunku, Mohamed Salah, Joshua Kimmich, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Vinicius Junior, Bernardo Silva, Luis Diaz, Robert Lewandowski, Riyad Mahrez, Casemiro, Son Heung-min, Fabinho, Mikeign Benzean, Harry Kane , Darwin Nunez, Phil Foden, Sadio Mane, Sebastian Haller, Luka Modric, Antonio Rudiger, Cristiano Ronaldo, Kevin De Bruyne, Dusan Vlahovic, Virgil van Dijk, Joao Cancelo, Kylian Mbappe, Erling Haaland
Benzema praised Ronaldo in June, claiming he helped prolong his career.
He told Onze Mondial: “When I was watching him, I tried to understand everything he did: the goals, the shots, the passes, the control of the ball.
“I have analyzed everything about Ronaldo. That is why I can say: it is impossible to achieve the same.”
When asked if he thought he deserved to win the Ballon d’Or, Benzema replied: “Because I’m having a great season, I think. I was present in many important matches, I managed differences.
“All of that makes people recognize my performance. And then, I’ve been consistent all season.”
The former Lyon man went so far as to say he would vote for himself. “Yes, of course, because I love my game, I love what I do on the pitch,” he declared. “I’m playing the football I always wanted to play.
“The way I play on the pitch represents my vision of football.
“For example, if I saw another player doing what I do on a pitch, I would vote for him.”
Who do you think deserves to win the 2022 Ballon d’Or? Let us know in the comments.