- Karim Benzema scored a stunning strike as France won its first ever UEFA Nations League title.
- Didier Deschamps’ side beat Spain 2-1 in a thrilling match at the San Siro.
- Benzema has hit 10 goals in 10 matches for Real Madrid this term.
Karim Benzema scored a stunning goal as France beat Spain in the final of the UEFA Nations League to claim a second major international trophy in three years.
Spain went ahead at San Siro stadium in Milan in the 64th minute through Mikel Oyarzabal, who shrugged off defender Dayot Upamecano to beat Hugo Lloris.
Benzema equalized for the France just four minutes later, curling a superb effort from the edge of the box into the top corner of Unai Simon’s net, before Kylian Mbappe hit a contentious winner.
The Paris Saint Germain forward appeared clearly offside when he swept home Theo Hernandez’s pass, but a review from the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) adjudged him to have timed his run just right.
Victory saw France became the competition’s second only winner after Portugal in 2019, and comes just three years after it lifted the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
It was also a special night for Benzema, who lifted a first trophy with his country after having been exiled from the national team by manager Didier Deschamps in 2015 amid a sex tape scandal.
He made his return to international soccer in 2021, and has since scored six goals in 11 matches.
“It’s a dream evening on a collective and personal level,” Benzema said after the match. “I really wanted to win a trophy with the France team, today it’s done.”
Benzema has been world soccer’s outstanding player so far this season.
The 33-year-old striker has hit 10 goals in 10 matches for Real Madrid in all competitions, while he has also registered an impressive seven assists.
After claiming a maiden international trophy, he has now got his eyes on the Ballon d’Or having recently been named on the 30-man shortlist for the most prestigious individual prize in men’s soccer.
“Since I was little, I have had the dream of winning the Ballon d’Or, which is the dream that all footballers have,” Benzema told AS, per Sport Bible.
“It’s true that football is a team game but when you help the side to win, when you’re instrumental in triumphs, when you score winning goals, it’s natural for any player to aspire to win the Ballon d’Or.
“Of course, I’ll work as hard as I can to win that trophy and I hope, someday, fulfill the dream I had when I was a young boy.”
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are among the other nominees for the award, with Messi the odds-on favorite to win the title for a sixth time.
The winner will be announced at an awards ceremony on November 29.