The transfer of French star Karim Benzema from Lyon to Real Madrid cost 35 million euros in 2009, in addition to a round trip by private plane from Madrid to Lyon.

Nearly 13 years after the Frenchman first arrived in the Spanish capital, he has become the most likely candidate to win the 2022 Ballon d'Or.

In 2009, Real Madrid president, Florentino Perez, predicted that Benzema would become the best player in the world at some point in his career, which the French player proved correct.

Benzema, 34, scored 320 goals in 600 matches with "Los Blancos", during which he won 20 titles.

Having lived in the shadow of Cristiano Ronaldo for a decade, Benzema is finally the captain.

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Golden Ball Race

Today, Benzema is competing with players such as Belgian Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), French Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain), Egyptian Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) and Poland's Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich) in the race for the Golden Ball award.

If Benzema wins the Ballon d'Or, this will trigger a clause in his contract that gives him a huge bonus.

In the recent talks between Real Madrid and Benzema, the two discussed the renewal of the current contract that runs until 2023. However, both agreed to wait and see how his body responds in the next few months.

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The Royal believes that it would be fair for Benzema to win the Ballon d'Or.

The Frenchman never reached the podium of the prestigious award, as he ranked fourth in the last edition behind Lionel Messi, Lewandowski and Italian Jorginho.

Benzema numbers

It seems that Real will be crowned the "La Liga" this weekend before facing Manchester City in the Champions League semi-final second leg next week, and Benzema is the top scorer in the League this season with 25 goals, and he is the top scorer in the Champions League with 14 goals.

In sum, the France international has scored more than 40 goals and 13 assists in all competitions so far this season.

Benzema became the first player to score 40 goals for Real Madrid in one season since Ronaldo's departure, and he is also the first player to score 25 goals and make more than 10 goals in one season in La Liga since the departure of Argentine Lionel Messi.

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In addition to also winning the European Nations League with France, Benzema is currently third in the European Golden Shoe race behind Lewandowski and Italian Ciro Immobile.

Benzema is widely seen as the favorite to win the Ballon d'Or due to his numbers in Spain and Europe.

Only journalists from the top 100 countries will vote in this year's FIFA rankings, and individual performance will be taken into account, followed by collective achievements, as well as sportsmanship.

And if Benzema scores 4 more goals, he will surpass Raul Gonzalez (323) to be Real Madrid's second-best scorer ever.

Ronaldo Nazario, Rio Ferdinand and Mesut Ozil believed that Benzema is the best striker in the world.

And Italian Carlo Ancelotti - coach of "Merengue" - found Benzema completely different when he returned to Real Madrid in his second term at the club, as he saw a more mature player, more responsible and able to lead his colleagues towards collective success.