Last year’s winner was Lionel Messi, while Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah came in eighth.

After Real Madrid claimed the Champions League title on Saturday, Lionel Messi says there are “no doubts” that Karim Benzema should win the Ballon d’Or this year.

Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane of Liverpool are also in the running for the accolade, although their chances may be harmed by Saturday’s defeat in Paris. Benzema has 44 goals in all competitions for his team this season, making him a strong contender for the honour.

At the very least, he is in the opinion of last year’s winner and eight-time winner, Lionel Messi. Although the Argentina international won the trophy in December, he believes Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo is next in line.

“I think there are no doubts this year,” he told Argentine TV station TyC Sports. “It is very clear that Benzema had a spectacular year and ended up victorious in the Champions League, being essential from the last 16 onwards in all the games.

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Both Mane and Salah have had outstanding seasons, with the former’s victory with Senegal in the Africa Cup of Nations and World Cup qualifiers putting him firmly in contention. However, with his loss on Saturday, the odds are now stacked against him.

Jurgen Klopp himself confirmed before the final that whoever won on Saturday will be in the running for the trophy.

 He told reporters last week : “You are either (Cristiano) Ronaldo, (Lionel) Messi or you won the Champions League final. I think that’s the only way you do it.

“That’s how it has been in the last few years. So, (winning) would increase a player’s chances, definitely.”

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