Arsenal legend Thierry Henry names his two picks for the Ballon d’Or

Benzema has enjoyed a sensational campaign with Madrid

Benzema has enjoyed a sensational campaign with Madrid (Picture: Getty Images)

Arsenal legend Thierry Henry believes Karim Benzema and Sadio Mane are the two favourites to win this year’s Ballon d’Or award.

Both players are set to meet in the Champions League final at the end of May after Real Madrid and Liverpool secured their place at the showpiece this week.

The Reds overcame a scare against Villarreal to progress to the final, while Carlo Ancelotti’s Madrid pulled off an incredibly dramatic comeback to beat Manchester City in the semis.

Mane continues to shine for Liverpool

Mane continues to shine for Liverpool (Picture: Getty Images)

Benzema scored yet another crucial goal for Madrid in the Champions League, netting the winner in extra time from the penalty spot, just a week after his audacious Panenka past Ederson.

The 34-year-old, who is currently on 43 goals across all competitions for the season, also scored a hat-trick in the quarter-finals to help the La Liga side beat Chelsea.

Meanwhile, Mane has excelled for Liverpool and Senegal of late, contributing with crucial goals for club and country.

The winger scored the decisive spot-kick to win the Africa Cup of Nations for Senegal in February, and netted another winning penalty to secure Senegal’s place in the 2022 World Cup a month later.

With the quadruple still on for Liverpool, Henry thinks Mane could make a ‘strong case’ to win the Ballon d’Or, but the French World Cup winner feels Benzema is ‘ahead’ in the race to win the coveted award.

‘If you think about the [Champions League] final and to make it even bigger, the two favourites for the Ballon d’Or are Mane and Benzema,’ Henry told CBS Sports.

‘So that will add a little extra spice into it.

‘I still believe that Benzema is ahead, but if Mane wins it with Liverpool and they do make the quadruple, that would be a pretty strong case.

‘It would be great for Africa, but I’m still going with Benzema.’

MORE : Real Madrid to face Liverpool in Champions League final after astonishing fightback against Manchester City

MORE : Michael Owen claims Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk is the greatest centre-back of all time

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