Karim Benzema has made a case for himself once more just days after being nominated for this year's Ballon d'Or trophy. The French forward was man of the match as Les Bleus defeated Spain 2-1 in the UEFA Nations League final on Sunday at the San Siro in Milan.

La Furia Roja took the lead in the 64th minute thanks to a strike by Mikel Oyarzabal, but Benzema replied just two minutes later. The Frenchman latched onto the ball at the edge of the box and drilled a brilliant long-distance shot that had the entire Spanish defence just watching as they stood rooted to their spots.

Spain did well throughout the entire match. keeping good possession and control of the ball. They also displayed the youth in their squad with the fast-paced play, but nothing could stop Benzema's precise and powerful effort.

Unai Simon did what he could, but even his lightning quick reflexes could not respond quickly enough to stop Benzema's torpedo from hitting the back of the net. Now, the Frenchman has an international trophy under his belt, and his chances for the Ballon d'Or have been boosted significantly. Lionel Messi has been the strong favourite for the award after leading Argentina to the Copa America title, but Benzema now had his own international trophy to flaunt.

The Frenchman returned to international duty after an exile of five years, but he is now showing off exactly what they had been missing. He is also the top scorer in La Liga at the moment, showing consistent form in all competitions.

While Benzema's heroics were clear, the Nations League final itself was not without controversy. Jules Kounde was lucky to get away with what looked like a handball, and Kylian Mbappe's winning goal appeared offside to people in the audience and even more so to the Spanish team players who were on the pitch. VAR did not intervene with the referee's decision, and the goal was allowed to stand.

In the end, France are the victors, and Benzema has strengthened his case for the coveted individual award.

Karim Benzema, Kylian Mbappe
Karim Benzema, Kylian Mbappe AFP / FRANCK FIFE