Nigeria international, FC Lorient striker, Terem Moffi, is convinced that Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema is the favourite to win the Ballon d’Or this year.
Paris Saint-Germain duo Lionel Messi and Neymar are not on the shortlist for the France Football-sponsored Best Player in the world award.
Messi has won the award seven times – more than any other player in history.
With Messi out and Cristiano Ronaldo past his prime, this year’s award could come down to a straight fight between Barcelona’s Robert Lewandowski, Bayern Munich’s Sadio Mane, and Benzema.
While Terem has a soft spot for Mane as a fellow African, the Super Eagles star is in no doubt that Benzema is neck and shoulder above all competitors.
“For the Ballon d’Or, it’s not up to me to say whether Benzema deserves it or not,” Moffi told Ouest France.
“But he won everything; he scored a lot of goals… Sadio Mané was also very successful, scoring very important goals. My favorite choice would go for my ‘African brother’, but I think Benzema should win, thanks to his performances with Real Madrid and the France team.”
Moffi declared that Benzema has been a role model and a striker per excellence over many years.
“Everyone knows what kind of player Karim Benzema is,” the 23-year-old added.
“As a young striker, we watch what he does, the way he behaves on the pitch, and how he carries his team. He is a very good player, and we are inevitably influenced by what he does.
“He has all the palette that a striker should have: he works in midfield, he knows how to keep the ball, dribble, make decisive passes, and of course score a lot of goals.
“He is incredible. To perform as he has for many years, I think he pays great attention to his body, his diet, his sleep, and his lifestyle. He takes care of himself and I think that’s the most important thing for a professional footballer. He is inspiring.
“For me, he is a model, even if I also look at many other attackers: Erling Haaland, Olivier Giroud, of course Romelu Lukaku, or Pierre-Emerick
Aubameyang. If I was in the same team as him, of course, I would be a substitute. But it would be an honor; we would learn a lot of things by his side.”
Meanwhile, the Ballon d’Or awards winners are announced at a glitzy ceremony in Paris on October 17.