Lionel Messi Ballon d'Or

The 2022 Ballon d’Or will be awarded on 17 October in Paris, with the successor to Lionel Messi to be crowned on the night. Image: Showmax Pro/Supplied

Ballon d’Or award: Bookmakers back Real Madrid star for trophy

The 2022 Ballon d’Or will be awarded on 17 October in Paris, with the successor to Lionel Messi to be crowned on the night.

Lionel Messi Ballon d'Or

The 2022 Ballon d’Or will be awarded on 17 October in Paris, with the successor to Lionel Messi to be crowned on the night. Image: Showmax Pro/Supplied

The 2022 Ballon dOr will be awarded on Monday, 17 October in Paris, with the successors to Lionel Messi and Alexia Putellas to be named on the night, organisers have announced.

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The 66th edition will be held at the Chatelet theatre, where Messi won the men’s award for a record-extending seventh time last year.

The nominees will be announced on 12 August.

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It will be the first year since organisers France Football changed the criteria span to the European football season from the calendar year.

According to leading bookmaker Betway, it’s a one-man race for this year’s award.

Real Madrid’s French star striker Karim Benzema has been installed as an overwhelming 3/20 favourite, followed by Liverpool duo Mohamed Salah (12/1) and Sadio Mane (16/1).

Benzema has been arguably the finest player in the world all season.

His 49 goals in 52 matches dwarfs Salah’s 33 in 59 while even Kylian Mbappe, whose rejection of a move to Real Madrid has dominated the build-up to this weekend’s Champions League final in Paris, is also inferior, with 43 in 49.

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If Real Madrid beat Liverpool to win a 14th Champions League Cup, the expectation is Benzema will also beat the likes of Salah and Mane to win his first Ballon d’Or.

This season, Benzema has scored the most goals of his career for Real Madrid and the most of his career in the Champions League. He has become the oldest player to score a hat-trick in the Champions League and the most prolific French scorer in history. 

If he scores two goals this weekend, he will equal Cristiano Ronaldo’s Champions League record of 17 goals, the most ever scored by one player in a single tournament.

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Meanwhile, Betway have PSG’s Mbappe, Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne and Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski all on offer at 20/1.

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo who have dominated the Ballon d’Or award ceremony in recent years, are rank outsiders to add another trophy this time around at 34/1 and 39/1, respectively.

By Garrin Lambley © Agence France-Presse

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