MADRID, Spain, November 30 – Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said on Tuesday that Karim Benzema “is not crying” for not winning his first Ballon d’Or.
Lionel Messi, who left Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain last summer, won the Ballon d’Or for the seventh time on Monday, a record.
Messi, 34, led Argentina to the Copa America title in July and scored 40 goals in 2021, including 28 for Barca.
Benzema, 33, finished fourth behind Messi, Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski and Chelsea midfielder Jorginho.
At his press conference in Madrid on Tuesday, Ancelotti was asked if the Ballon d’Or “still has any credibility” after Messi’s latest victory.
“We have to respect the decision. Messi won and he’s still a great player, ”said Ancelotti.
“For players, individual rewards are important and they motivate – but if they don’t win them, it doesn’t matter.
“Benzema has had a great season and finished fourth and he will now have extra motivation to finish first next year.”
Ancelotti added: “It’s an important reward but it’s still individual. Karim Benzema is not crying for not having won it, nor Thibaut Courtois. They accepted it without any problem.
Ancelotti said he would have elected Benzema, Vinicius Junior and Luka Modric as his first three.
Vinicius scored a scintillating winner late in the game against Sevilla on Sunday as Madrid moved up four points to the top of La Liga.
They could take that advantage to seven points by beating Athletic Bilbao at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday.
“I don’t know if we are favorites for La Liga but we are playing well and we are consistent,” said Ancelotti.
Ancelotti has also said Madrid will not sign any players in January, but admitted disgruntled players may be allowed to leave.
Some players like Isco and Eden Hazard have found themselves out of favor under Ancelotti this season.
Ancelotti said Hazard would be available against Athletic Bilbao, but insisted that the Belgian striker “needs to improve his physical condition as he has had problems of different types”.
“I don’t like the January signings very much. If we have players who are not happy that is something we can think about but we are not going to sign anyone.
“We have enough to compete until the end of the season.”