Karim Benzema: “It’s a lot of sacrifice, I didn’t give up”

After receiving the 2022 Ballon d’Or from Zinédine Zidane on Monday, Karim Benzema thanked his teammates, his family, Olympique Lyonnais and Real Madrid president, Florentino Perez. This is what he had to say in full:

“To see this (the public cheering him on) in front of me is a source of pride. I think back to when I was little, all the work done, I never let go. It was a childhood dream, like all kids. I grew up with that in my head then afterwards I had motivation because I had two role models in my life: Zizou and Ronaldo (both were present). It’s a lot of work, a lot of sacrifice, it’s training more than the rest but above all always keeping this dream in your head, that anything is possible.”

“There were times when it was very difficult for me. We don’t just look at the bright side today, but there were those periods when, for example, I wasn’t part of the national team, I didn’t give up, when I was with the coach here (Zidane). We worked a lot in training and he kept telling me to keep this joy of playing football and that, one day, I could win this trophy. I’m really proud of my journey.”

“I also don’t forget Mr. Aulas (Lyon president), the whole Lyon academy because without them, I wouldn’t have realised my dream of playing for Real Madrid.”

“Being here, it’s the first time so I’m really happy, I’m satisfied with my work. I will continue like this. I would like to thank all my teammates, whether at Real Madrid or in the national team. Thanks to them, to my coach, to my great president (Florentino Perez). The day he gave me the chance to sign for Real Madrid, he came to my house, it shows the man he is. He was always straight with me. He always gave me confidence, that’s why today he has all my respect.”

“I also don’t forget my whole family because we need a family, to be united. This Ballon d’Or is individual but it is also collective. That’s why for me it’s the people’s Ballon d’Or.”

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