Karim Benzema is the fifth French winner of the seventh national Ballon d’Or. If his undisputed crowning owes much to his personal talent, he is nonetheless in the line of his illustrious predecessors: Kopa, Platini, Papin and Zidane.
A bit of prestigious chronology, for starters! Raymond Kopa won this individual trophy in 1958, Michel Platini won an incredible and unprecedented treble in 1983-1984-1985, Jean-Pierre Papin did it in 1991 and Zinédine Zidane did it in 1998. Not bad for France, who joins Germany. , Argentina, Portugal and the Netherlands instead of the number 1 nation with, therefore, 7 golden balloons. What is the name of this seventh non-evil crystal ball?
The history of immigration in contemporary France traces an almost inescapable and continuous perspective of French football. The Golden Balls of Kopaszewski (of Polish origin), Platini (of Italian origin), Zidane and Benzema (both of Algerian and Kabyle origin) have followed the successive waves of immigration from our country. If Papin le ch’ti is an exception, they all come together in family nicknames. “home to home” who deck themselves out: Kopa or the Napoleon of football, Platoche, Jipépé or Patator, Zizou and now Benz’ or KB9 (rap culture obliges), The new, Benzegol. This chronological perspective of immigration from France suggests that our next Ballon d’Or will follow the last wave of immigration, that of sub-Saharan Africa, which will complete the Black-White-Beur formula, with the French-Algerian-Cameroonian Kylian Mbappé, known as ” Kyky”, Bondy’s Parisian marmoset. The fact is that an immigrant background is not an absolute golden rule for football success, even when it comes to the other potential winners who could also have been crowned, such as Just Fontaine, Alain Giresse, Thierry Henry or Franck Ribéry. Therefore, in 2022, French football can only congratulate itself on having three scorers from different origins and profiles: Giroud, Benzema and Mbappé! The tropism of immigration only confirms that minorities often continue to shine in host societies through sports and the arts (especially music and cinema). But let us not forget that the beneficial work of integration “French style” has allowed access to the middle classes and the liberal professions to a large number of second and successive generation immigrants.
The coronation of Karim Benzema continues to write the uniqueness of French football, winning individually (7 Ballon d’Or) and with the national team (2 World Cups 1998 and 2018, 2 Euros 1984 and 2000, a gold medal at the 1984 Olympic Games, 2 Confederations Cups in 2001 and 2003 and a Nations League in 2021), but which hardly exists at club level (only C1 in 1993 for OM and C2 in 1996 for PSG). Before Euro 1984 crowned the Hidalgo Blues collective, the first international title in French football was Kopa’s individual distinction, Ballon d’Or in 1958. Proof that France is among the great footballing nations in the sense that it produces regularly exceptional players. And Karim is one like Raymond, Michel, Jean-Pierre and Zinédine. More than a collective identity, observable in Spain or the Netherlands, French football expresses through its Club 5 a resolutely offensive, inspired and aesthetic style that recalls, in rugby, the French style of XV of France. Because, apart from JPP, a pure number 9 dedicated completely to his work as a finisher, Kopa, Platini, Zidane and Benzema stand out or have stood out in the double record of scorer-leader, scorer and creator. Of course, Michel and Karim have a more prolific profile in terms of registered pawns, but the other two also managed to score important goals.
And Karim created The Nine
In Karim, author of 50 goals in all competitions last season, the double record of goalscorer-leader is reinforced even in his paradoxical peculiarity of not being obsessed solely with statistics. “If you only think about the goal, it’s because you don’t know how to play football” , professes. While it is precisely because of the statistics that football now does and defeats the kings! Karim really created The newa kind of hybrid striker who occupies a special place in today’s football. a class of its own, as the English say. In addition to his 50 goals, the native of Bron also distributed 16 assists. If we add the penultimate assists and his active or initial participation in other people’s goals, as well as the penalties he left for friends, his work as a whole defines a truly exceptional profile. With a rare intelligence of the game, Karim had revealed in an interview on The team on April 5, his personal journey that turned him into a kind of demiurge of himself, creator of his double, The new : “My main goal was to become a kind of ‘ideal’ striker. (…) So if I have revolutionized the post in my own way, it is my greatest success. » Mission accomplished ! The new (the number nine) also sounds like The new (the new one): KB9 or the new nuance of 9. In addition to his goals, his assists and his two big titles with Real (C1 and Liga) as well as the Nations League with the Blues, he is more prominent for a leadership that one would not have suspected before. With or without a bracelet (Marcelo was the official captain of the Real, Lloris that of the France team), it was he who breathed the spirit of conquest into the Real and the Blues, through his voice and gesture, through his attitude and for the crucial goals. The new It is therefore perfectly in line with its four illustrious predecessors who also sublimated to success the group in which they were integrated wonderfully. Karim Benzema is French football who also knows how to imagine, invent… and recreate himself!
By Cherif Ghemmour
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