Vinicius Junior is happy to concede that Real Madrid team-mate Karim Benzema is likely to beat him to the 2022 Ballon d’Or, but the Brazilian forward has sent a “no way that’s going to happen” message to a club colleague when it comes to a battle for World Cup supremacy.
Leading lights at Santiago Bernabeu have their sights locked on more major honours following a productive end to the 2021-22 campaign that delivered La Liga and Champions League title glory to the Spanish capital.
Benzema proved to be a talismanic presence for the Blancos after taking the captain’s armband, with 44 goals recorded across all competitions, and Vinicius – who netted a match-winning effort in a European showdown with Liverpool – expects the Frenchman to land a prestigious Golden Ball.
Will Karim Benzema win 2022 Ballon d’Or?
Vinicius is considered to have put himself in Ballon d’Or contention, having recorded 22 goals and 16 assists of his own last season, but he acknowledges that – despite boasting the support of fellow countryman Neymar – individual honours are likely to go elsewhere this year.
“I’m really happy that Neymar said that I should win the Ballon d’Or, but in my opinion Benzema deserves it more,” the 21-year-old South American said while away on international duty.
Champions League Player of the Season: Karim Benzema 🤍— GOAL (@goal) May 31, 2022
Champions League Young Player of the Season: Vinicius Junior 🤍
They helped each other to new heights. pic.twitter.com/0oFuRuzmEI
Who will win 2022 World Cup?
While Vinicius is throwing in the towel on a Ballon d’Or front, he is setting his sights on more collective silverware in 2022.
Brazil are heading to the World Cup finals in Qatar as favourites to claim a sixth global crown, with impressive depth boasted in a star-studded squad.
Defending champions France, with Benzema leading their line, are another of those expected to go well into the latter stages, but Vinicius has warned that Les Bleus are going to have to settle for a runner-up finish at best this time around.
He added on his conversations with an in-form team-mate in Madrid: “Karim also jokes with me that he wants to win against Brazil at the World Cup final, but there's no way that's going to happen.”
Brazil will be back in international friendly action against Japan on Monday, while France are set to take on Croatia in the UEFA Nations League.