Former France international, Mathieu Valbuena has congratulated Karim Benzema after his 2022 Ballon d'Or win despite being at odds with the Real Madrid striker over a sex-tape scandal for over seven years.
Valbuena, who said he has to be honest, insisted that Benzema thoroughly deserved to win the Ballon d'Or this year.
Benzema, who won the Ballon d'Or award on Monday, was arrested back in 2015 and subsequently tried because of an alleged plot to blackmail then international teammate, Valbuena over a sex tape.
Speaking with 90 Football, Valbuena said (via Le10Sport):
"I'm happy for him because he deserves it. In life, you have to be honest. I have always known how to differentiate football from non-football.
"He had an extraordinary season, when you have been playing for a club like Real Madrid for so many years, and you are performing well, it would not be objective of me to say that he does not deserve it."
"It's been a while since the Ballon d'Or, there was so little suspense. There it's been a few months, quite a while, that there was more suspense. It was the case and it is deserved in view of the season. The only thing I can say is that it is deserved."