Champions | Carragher, for AS: “Benzema deserves the Ballon d’Or”

Carragher, para AS: "Benzema se merece el Balón de Oro"

Jamie Carragher (Liverpool, 1978) is probably the most memorable defender in the history of Liverpool, the only team he played for in his entire career. 18 seasons and more than 700 games that helped him lift the Champions League in Istanbul in 2005, but time is running out and the Reds are now looking for their seventh Champions League in Paris. Carragher spoke to Diario AS about the final against Real Madrid, in an interview that he took advantage of to highlight Benzema.

-How do you see this Liverpool compared to the one in the final in kyiv in 2018?

It is a different Liverpool mentally, and technically too. Madrid had just won three or four Champions Leagues in 2018 with Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos, and Liverpool was already almost happy with the fact that they reached the Champions League final. I think that the current Liverpool has more quality, is more experienced and that is why it is better than in 2018.

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-Is Klopp’s Liverpool the best in history?

It can, but it may have to win three or four more trophies first because there were very good teams in the 1980s. You have to think about the one that beat Real Madrid in 1981, because that team won three European Cups. This Liverpool may have to win another league or European championship, but it is one of the best teams in its history.

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-Player by player, do you see Liverpool or Madrid better for this final?

I think they are very even, Liverpool may have an advantage… but it is Real Madrid, who always have a great team. I think right now Liverpool and Manchester City are the two best teams in Europe and I’ve seen Madrid beat City, so that shows how good Madrid are. It will be a tough game, but Liverpool may have an advantage.

-I ask you now in reverse, how do you see this Real Madrid compared to 2018?

Well, they no longer have Cristiano Ronaldo. Cristiano was one of the best in the history of football and that is a big difference. Now they have changed and it is more like Benzema’s Madrid. This season, Benzema has been the best striker in Europe, he has been fantastic, but yes. Madrid may not be at the level of four years ago, but it is difficult to be at that level with Cristiano, with Ramos and with Modric and Kroos three or four years younger. It’s obvious.

-Whatever happens in the final in Paris, does Benzema deserve the Ballon d’Or?

Yes, the big moments always decide whether in the Champions League or in national team tournaments, but this summer there are no national team tournaments. Maybe Sadio Mané, after winning the Africa Cup with Senegal and if he wins and Liverpool and scores two or three goals in the final, I don’t know… but right now it’s Benzema.

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-Is Mané the leader of Liverpool?

I think that in 2022 Mané has played fantastically, but Salah has probably been the best player in the Premier, since the start of the season. But definitely, since they came back from the Africa Cup it’s been a different story for Mané and it’s been more complicated for Salah, he may be saving himself for Paris….

-You have been a central defender, like Sergio Ramos and Virgil Van Dijk, who do you think has reached a better level?

We will measure their level with the Champions they have achieved, and Ramos has won many. But Van Dijk is the best center back in the world right now. Now I’m just going to talk to him.


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