Mo Salah and Karim Benzema make mockery of Ballon d’Or rankings

Top scorers in the Premier League and La Liga this season, the duo starred throughout 2021, but neither of them rose to the podium for Monday’s Premier League singles award – which Lionel Messi won for the seventh time. Benzema advanced to third place through Jorginho, a Chelsea player, while Salah ranked seventh.

The perceived unfairness of Salah’s termination was compounded by his knowledge that he was the fourth-best performer in the Premier League over a calendar year – Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United and N’Golo Kante of Chelsea joined Eugenio in a position above the Egyptian.

Liverpool fans will not be overly upset, with Salah decisively dismissing any frustrations on the most hostile stage – outside Everton’s stadium in the Merseyside derby.

Derby Delight

The Egyptian striker was at his best at Goodison Park, scoring a brace to lead Liverpool to dismantle their rivals 4-1 to maintain a two-point lead over league leaders Chelsea.

Having given the visitors the lead with a sweeping finish within 10 minutes, captain Jordan Henderson quickly received a crucial pass to his name as Salah’s pass prompted a run down the middle of the right lane during the first half. One touch to set himself, the second to clip it around Jordan Pickford and into the far corner – the finish was classic for Salah.

Everton reduced the difference through Demarie Gray, but Salah restored Liverpool’s consistency after the second half. Jumping from Seamus Coleman’s loose touch on the center line, the Egyptian sprinted toward goal before slipping the ball into the far corner.

Diogo Jota completed the defeat just over 10 minutes ago, but the headlines once again belong to Salah as he races towards a seemingly inevitable fourth league campaign with more than 20 goals in just five seasons at Liverpool.

Salah’s double raised his score to 13 goals in the league in just 14 games, four goals behind his closest rival in Leicester’s Jamie Vardy. Just for good measure, Salah also leads assists in the Premier League this season with eight assists.

In his pre-match press conference, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp admitted he was “surprised” by Salah’s standings, saying the winger “should have been higher, for sure”.

When asked about his reaction to ending the Ballon d’Or after the match, Salah’s response was to laugh and shake his head.

“I have no comment!” He told Amazon Prime Video.

‘show must go on’

Benzema followed suit in responding to any perceived injustice with a match-winning performance – firing the only goal of the match to defeat Athletic Bilbao and cementing Real Madrid’s lead at the top of La Liga.

French chirp In the aftermath of the Ballon d’Or awards, “The Show Must Go On” and stayed true to his word, returning Luka Modric’s pass just before halftime to score his 12th league goal.
Karim Benzema in the Athletic Bilbao match.

Like Salah, he also leads the league with seven assists, and at 33, he appears to be improving with age. Benzema equaled 35 goals in 46 games in 2021, his best calendar year tally with Real Madrid in 2019, and he still has four games to play to score a new personal best.

His shimmering form was reflected in the team’s performance as a whole – Wednesday night’s win netted Carlo Ancelotti’s side seven consecutive wins in all competitions and opened seven La Liga points, although local rivals Atlético Madrid have the tally. The game at hand.

Should he and Salah continue at their current pace, the biggest obstacle for them to achieve Ballon d’Or 2022 glory may be each other.


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