Real Madrid superstar Karim Benzema has responded to the praise lavished on him by former Barcelona captain Lionel Messi.

Speaking to the media while on international duty with France (h/t Eurosport), Real Madrid superstar Karim Benzema has reacted to the statements made by Paris Saint-Germain superstar Lionel Messi, who backed the Frenchman to win the Ballon d’Or.

Benzema enjoyed a stunning 2021/22 season, as he spearheaded Real Madrid’s run to the La Liga and UEFA Champions League triumph. The 34-year-old plundered 44 goals and set up 15 more goals for his teammates from 46 matches across all competitions. 

Having won the Golden Boot award in La Liga, the French international has now emerged as the frontrunner to win the Ballon d’Or this year, after tasting success with the national team as he won the UEFA Nations League last October.

Messi, who has won the Ballon d’Or on seven occasions, including last year, has tipped Benzema to bag the Golden Orb for this year, praising the French international for his achievements over the course of the 2021/22 season.

“There are no doubts. It’s very clear that Benzema had a brilliant year and ended up winning the Champions League, being fundamental from the last 16 onwards in every game. I think there are no doubts this year,” Messi had said.

Now, in response to the former Barcelona captain’s comments, Benzema has stated that he is very pleased by Messi’s praise and gets inspired by the Argentine superstar.

“I heard Messi’s words, and they made me very happy,” Benzema said. “Very pleased to hear that from a player like him. “They give me the motivation to achieve more things.”

The shortlist for Ballon d’Or nominations will be revealed on August 12, with the winner set to be announced in Paris on October 17. Given Benzema’s success, it is hard to dispute his credentials to win the coveted award.

However, Liverpool forward Sadio Mane could pose as a serious challenger after winning two trophies with the Reds this season after leading Senegal to the Africa Cup of Nations triumph earlier this year. 

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