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Can Karim Benzema win the 2023 Ballon d’Or?

Karim Benzema at Real Madrid
© Ace Football

The 2022 Ballon d’Or winner strengthen his claim for back-to-back titles by smashing three goals past Barcelona.

Karim Benzema will be in the running for the 2023 Ballon d’Or award, says Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti.

On Wednesday, Benzema scored his second hat trick in three days. The striker put away three second-half goals inside 30 minutes against Barcelona, sealing Real Madrid a famous 4-0 victory at Camp Nou.

His excellent run is a welcome sight for Real Madrid, especially as the captain struggled to recapture the same form that won last year’s Ballon d’Or earlier in the season.

“Why not?” Ancelotti said when asked if Benzema can retain the Ballon d’Or.

“He’s still one of the best players — not forwards, but players — in the world right now, without a doubt. When he’s healthy, he makes the difference.”

‘He is in optimal condition again’

The 35-year-old’s early-season injury problems are behind him now, with 19 goals already in the bank since the World Cup break.

“The work [Benzema] did during the international break helped a lot,” Ancelotti added.

“He’s found his optimal condition again, and with the quality he has, the physical condition that supports that quality makes the difference.”

Vinicius Junior scored the opening goal in Wednesday’s 4-0 triumph in Barcelona.

The result ensured Real Madrid a 4-1 aggregate win in the Copa del Rey semi-final tie, sealing them a spot in the final against Osasuna on May 6.