Paris, May 29 (BNA) Karim Benzema said that his unauthorized goal in the first half prompted Real Madrid to beat Liverpool 1-0 in the Champions League final on Saturday to win their 14th European Cup title.
The France striker, one of the nominees for the Ballon d’Or – the most prestigious individual award in football – netted at the end of the first half, only to have his goal disallowed for offside after a lengthy VAR review.
It was Real’s first clear opportunity after Liverpool put them in a vulnerable position and plunged them into their groove, Reuters reports.
They then scored on their first legal attempt on goal when Vinicius Junior crossed Federico Valverde’s cross in the 59th minute.
“The final is always complicated. It’s a mental work. We are the (La Liga) champions and we didn’t have the rhythm, but we scored an offside goal and went into the game. In the second half we did as always, we won. We won. Benzema is the top scorer of the season with 15 goals,” said Benzema.
He is only the second French player to lift the Champions League trophy as captain after Didier Deschamps with Olympique de Marseille in 1993 and this put him in pole position to win the Ballon d’Or to be awarded in October.
He knows, however, that it’s no longer in his hands as the season draws to a close.
“Let’s see what happens,” he said. “I have trophies and nothing else (to prove) on the pitch. The important thing is to have fun.”
Benzema’s hat-trick in the quarter-finals, Chelsea’s go and his extra-time goal in the second leg as well as his three goals against Manchester City in the semi-finals, including the decisive extra-time penalty, could make him the first French player to win the Ballon d’Or since winning it Zinedine Zidane in 1998.