- Real Madrid and France forward Karim Benzema won the Ballon d'Or - awarded to the best footballer of the year - for the first time on Monday, October 17
- The 35-year-old striker has received a truckload of praise on the back of winning the most coveted prize in football
- Among the many to congratulate Benzema includes former France teammate turned 'enemy' Mathieu Valbuena, who reckons the Madrid man deserved the award
Former France international Mathieu Valbuena has congratulated Karim Benzema in the wake of his Ballon d'Or triumph.
Valbuena and Benzema were involved in a s3x tape scandal in 2015, with the Real Madrid frontman found guilty of blackmailing him.
As a result of the aforementioned controversy, Benzema was ousted from playing the Frace national team for more than five years, returning to Les Bleus in 2021.
However, Valbuena, who currently plays for Olympiacos in Greece, put aside his acrimony with the 34-year-old Madrid star by congratulating him for becoming the fifth French player to win the Ballon d'Or award.
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Speaking to 90 Football via GOAL, Valbuena said: "I'm happy for him, he deserves it. In life, you have to be honest. I have always known how to differentiate between football and outside of football.
"He had an extraordinary season. When you have been playing in a club like Real Madrid for so many years and you are performing well, it would not be objective of me to say that he does not deserve it."
Benzema received the Ballon d'Or prize on Monday, October 17 following his scintillating exploits in the 2021-22 campaign, scoring a staggering 44 goals in 46 matches.
Benzema opens up on winning Ballon d'Or
Earlier, Sports Brief reported that Karim Benzema is still reminiscing on winning his first Ballon d’Or, after he was named the world’s best player by France Football on Monday, October 17.
The French forward spoke to Real Madrid's official TV and shared his thoughts, after edging out Sadio Mane and Kevin de Bruyne to win the award.
According to SB Nation, Benzema disclosed he has been dreaming about winning the Ballon d’Or since he was a kid while hailing the 2021/22 season as his best so far in his career.