Asked if Kareem Benzema is at the level of Lionel Messi, Pep Guardiola’s response

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In August 2020, a journalist questioned Manchester City chiefs following Benjima’s goal-scoring heroism.

He branded the French as ‘fantastic’ but refused to place them in the same bracket as the six-time Ballon d’Or winner.

He told Marca: “Benzema is extraordinary, amazing.

“But 20 players have been on the scene since my time in Barcelona and people have asked if we can compare them. [Leo] Messi.

“20 players,” he exclaimed.

Benzema continues his ultra-prolific form in the new season, scoring 14 goals, including 10 La Liga goals in 15 games.

Speaking about his chances of winning a personal prize for the first time in his career, the 33-year-old said: “The Ballon d’Or? We’ll see what happens … but I feel so.”

“I’m happy to participate, feature and score in games. I’m very happy and I hope this can continue.

“In any case, if we look at the team we have, the World Cup should be one of our goals.

“We have to prepare well to reach our goals and the World Cup is one of them, for sure.”

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