Karim Benzema won the Ballon d’Or on Monday evening in Paris. The event is a lavish one and attendees dress accordingly. For Benzema that meant a tuxedo, but it was his hand that drew most attention as the Real Madrid forward is rarely seen without a bandage on his right hand. Without it, the long-term impact of an injury he sustained three years ago could be seen.

Karim Benzema won the Ballon d’Or in Paris on Monday night.

The 34-year-old beat off competition from Sadio Mane, Kevin de Bruyne, Robert Lewandowski and Mohamed Salah to land the award.

The event is a lavish one and attendees dress accordingly, and Benzema wore a tuxedo. However, it was his hand that drew most attention as the Real Madrid forward is rarely seen without a bandage on his right hand.

Without it, the long-term impact of an injury he sustained three years ago could be seen.

In January 2019, the forward broke his finger in a match against Real Betis. The injury required an operation and potentially a three-month recuperation period. However, Los Blancos were in the midst of a crisis and, as such, his then-manager Santiago Solari, who had replaced Julen Lopetegui mid-season, deemed that the forward should play.

“Karim has this finger injury, as you know, but we think it’s not a problem for him to practice his profession as a footballer,” Eurosport France reported him as saying.

Benzema would play for the rest of that season and score 30 goals in 56 games. Looking back, it was the season the Frenchman would emerge as Real’s leading man following the exit of Cristiano Ronaldo in 2018, and set him on the road towards Ballon d’Or glory.

However, the decision not to have the operation appears to have had a lasting impact on Benzema. He has since worn a bandage on his hand when he plays, and he appears unable to fully extend the finger in question as evidenced by the below photo.

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