Carlo Ancelotti believes there should be "no doubts" that Karim Benzema will win the 2022 Ballon d'Or after the French striker led Real Madrid to UEFA Super Cup victory.
Benzema became the club's second leading goalscorer of all-time as he netted the second in a largely comfortable 2-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt in Helsinki. Only Cristiano Ronaldo (450) has scored more than Benzema's 324 goals for Real.
The 34-year-old, installed as club captain after the summer departure of Marcelo, continued a superlative year that has already brought a La Liga and Champions League double and appears likely to be rewarded with individual honours too.
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Ancelotti became the first coach to lift the UEFA Super Cup on four occasions in Finland, and hailed the impact of Benzema on his side.
"Benzema is very important, our leader," the Italian told Movistar.
"We are here mostly because of him - he scored many important goals.
"There are no doubts about who should win the Ballon d'Or, it should be Karim."
Benzema squeezed a shot past Kevin Trapp in the Eintracht Frankfurt goal to seal victory 25 minutes from time after David Alaba had given the Spanish side a first-half lead.
The two goals ensured Real Madrid's competitive season began as the last ended with a trophy lifted high into the night sky.
Ancelotti's side start their league campaign with a trip to Almeria on Sunday and the experienced manager was, on the whole, pleased with the performance.
"It was not an easy game, especially at the beginning," Ancelotti conceded.
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"It was difficult for us to pick up the pace in general, but after the goal, everything went well. The beginning of the season is always difficult.
"We started well, having a good atmosphere can lead to better results and a better game. Winning helps to be motivated and excited".
"On Sunday (against Almeria), I'll refresh the team a bit."
The 2022 Ballon d'Or nominees shortlist will be released on Friday, August 12
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