Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has backed Karim Benzema to win the Ballon d'Or this year, also tipping the forward to keep playing for many years to come.
Benzema has been in inspired form in recent times, netting over 20 La Liga goals in each of his last three full seasons. He has taken things to another level this time out, registering eight goals and seven assists in just six domestic games so far. No one is Europe's top five leagues has managed more in either metric.
He also broke back into the France team in time for Euro 2020 after a number of years in the international wilderness - although things have not quite clicked for Les Bleus' new-look frontline so far.
Speaking about Benzema's flying start to the campaign before his side's game against Villarreal on Saturday evening, Ancelotti revealed his belief that the forward was getting better with age.
"The way he’s playing, I think he has to be on the list of players who can win it [the Ballon d'Or]. Karim has time to win it. This isn’t his last season. He’s like a fine wine; he gets better with time," he said (via Get Football News Spain)
Benzema will face stiff competition for the award, though. Lionel Messi is in with a strong chance of securing his seventh Ballon d'Or with the free-scoring Robert Lewandowski and Champions League winning pair N'Golo Kante and Jorginho also in contention.
This has already put them seven points in front of Barcelona but Ancelotti refused to rub salt in the wounds of the club's bitter rivals.
"I don’t get any pleasure out of other teams’ misfortune," he said. "I focus on my team and I look forward to our games. If things aren’t going well for another team, whether it’s Barcelona or anyone else, I don’t take pleasure in that."