'Football is lucky to see Karim Benzema play': Real Madrid boss Ancelotti's epic one-liner wins hearts
Real Madrid's Karim Benzema and Carlo Ancelotti on Thursday bagged UEFA Player, Coach of the Year 2021-22 awards, and the Italian dished out an epic one-liner in praise of the Frenchman.
Sensational striker Karim Benzema scored a career-high 15 goals as Real Madrid won the 2021–22 Champions League, earning him the title of UEFA Men's Player of the Year and putting him well in the running for the Ballon d'Or this year.
The 34-year-old France international led the Los Blancos to their 35th LaLiga and 14th Champions League title last season and was a vital player in a series of thrilling European comebacks, scoring hat tricks against Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), among other highlights.
The award was presented at an Istanbul event on Thursday, marking the group stage draw for the Champions League 2022-23. Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti also received the UEFA Men's Coach of the Year award.
Jurgen Klopp of Liverpool and Pep Guardiola of Manchester City were passed over in favour of Ancelotti.
When asked how he had become the most successful coach in the competition, Ancelotti said, "The passion I have for the sport and the quality of the players. Last season there was a fantastic connection between the veterans and young ones, there was fantastic chemistry with the supporters that helped us reach an unbelievable achievement."
Praising Real Madrid's star captain Benzema, the Italian boss added, "Karim is not just a fantastic striker and top scorer, he's a fantastic footballer, supported by great attitude day by day."
"Compared to last year, this year he improved his knowledge, he knows the game really well, how to manage the game and he's a strong leader in the dressing room and a good friend of mine. We are lucky to have Karim," Ancelotti said.
"We have to say football is lucky to see Karim play," the Real Madrid boss concluded.
This punchline instantly went viral across social media platforms, with several Real Madrid fans lauding their coach for dishing out such high praises for the veteran striker. Here's a look at some of the reactions on Twitter:
Benzema won the Men's Player of the Year award, which is decided upon by a jury of club representatives and journalists from a shortlist of 15 players nominated by UEFA's technical research committee. He edged out colleague Thibaut Courtois and Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne.
Benzema follows Jorginho, who took the 2021 award after winning the Champions League with Chelsea and Euro 2020 with Italy.
The France forward has received comparatively few individual awards despite having an illustrious career that included five Champions League victories and four La Liga crowns in 13 years with Real Madrid.
He came in fourth place in the 2021 Ballon d'Or voting, trailing only Lionel Messi, Robert Lewandowski, and Jorginho. However, he is the front-runner to win the 2022 award when France Football announces the winner in October.