Karim Benzema, a forward for Real Madrid and France, has won the Ballon d’Or, given to the year’s top footballer, for the first time.
Bayern Munich’s Sadio Mane, who was at Liverpool in 2021-22, was second ahead of Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne.
First Frenchman to win since 1998
In 46 games, Benzema scored 44 goals, helping Real Madrid win the Champions League and La Liga in 2021–22.
Since Zinedine Zidane in 1998, Benzema became the first Frenchman to get the prestigious honor. To award his countryman with the prize, Zidane attended the occasion.
Benzema exclaimed, “This award in front of me makes me incredibly proud. I never gave up because anything is possible; it was a boyhood goal of mine when I was younger.”
“I’m incredibly pleased of my path to get here; it wasn’t simple, and my family also had to go through a challenging time.”
1998 Ballon d'Or ? 2022 Ballon d'Or
24 years after Zinédine Zidane… Karim Benzema! ?" pic.twitter.com/b1iWIKW1Am
— Ballon d'Or #ballondor (@francefootball) October 17, 2022
The clear favorite to take home the prize this year was Benzema.
His 44 goals included a hat-trick in 17 minutes in the second half of the Champions League match against Paris Saint-Germain and another away at Chelsea in the first leg of the quarterfinals.
Throughout two legs of the semi-final against Manchester City, he added three more goals.
Alexia Putellas becomes the first woman to win consecutive Ballon d’Or
Alexia Putellas, the captain of Barcelona, has successfully defended her Women’s Ballon d’Or title, given to the year’s top female footballer.
The 28-year-old midfielder, who took home the honor the previous year, captained Barcelona to a domestic treble in 2022, scoring 34 goals in all competitions during the 2021/22 season.
Barça reached the Champions League final last season, where Lyon beat them. However, Putellas was still named the tournament’s best player and the top scorer with 11 goals.
Chelsea attacker Sam Kerr came in third, followed by Arsenal forward Beth Mead in second.
Putellas also won the Uefa Women’s Player of the Year award for the second successive year in 2022.
Putellas, who was injured in training on the day of the Euros and faced a lengthy recovery period of up to a year, said her recovery is going well, “but it’s obviously not a battle that is won just yet.”
Following her back-to-back Ballon d’Or victories, Putellas commented, “I’m thrilled to be back here. I earned this reward a year ago, inspiring me to strive for tremendous success.”
“I couldn’t have done this without my teammates. I also want to thank the coach and the technical team. And to express my gratitude to all club members involved off the field.”
Bona nit, culers! ✌️ pic.twitter.com/bjwO9HaPBg
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) October 17, 2022
Barcelona midfielder Gavi claimed the Kopa Trophy for the best player under 21.
At the same time, Real Madrid’s Thibaut Courtois won the Yashin Trophy for the best goalkeeper.
Barcelona’s Robert Lewandowski won the Gerd Müller Award for the best striker of the year.
Bayern Munich’s Sadio Mané won the inaugural Sócrates Prize for his community work in his native Senegal.
Manchester City won the Club of the Year award for having six Ballon d’Or nominees this year.