Karim Benzema deserves to win the Ballon d’Or this year after helping to guide his team to the Champions League title, said seven-times winner of the prestigious award Lionel Messi on Monday.

Messi spent the majority of his career at Barcelona going head-to-head with Benzema in La Liga, however he still recognises the achievements of the French striker.

Additionally, Messi commented on last year’s Ballon d’Or race and subsequent remarks made by Robert Lewandowski suggesting the Argentine was insincere in his acceptance speech, although the Polish forward has since said his words were misinterpreted.

“I think there are no doubts Benzema should win Ballon d’Or,” Messi told TyC Sports. “It is very clear that Benzema had a spectacular year and ended up elevating himself with the Champions League, being essential from the last 16 onwards in all the games. I think there are no doubts this year.”

Benzema scored 15 goals in the Champions League, including the winners in the knockout rounds against PSG, Chelsea and Manchester City. He also won La Liga with 27 goals and 12 assists in the competition.

The French international is now clear favourite with many for this year’s Ballon D’Or, and is clear at the top of rankings.