Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema is the Ballon d’Or 2022 winner. It is his first time winning the award after scoring a career-best 27 times in La Liga and becoming a top scorer in the Champions League with 15 goals. Benzema is now the fifth French player to win the title.
What Is the Ballon d’Or?
Also referred to as the Golden Ball, the Ballon d’Or is an annual event presented by the France Football Magazine to the best male footballer regarded to be the best in the world.
This year’s Ballon d’Or was held at the Theatre du Chatelet, Paris.
Le Ballon D’Or Du Peuple pic.twitter.com/IxsDmR2451
— Karim Benzema (@Benzema) October 18, 2022
Who is Karim Benzema?
Born on 19th December 1987 (34 years) in Lyon, France, Karim Mostafa Benzema is a striker for the Spanish club Real Madrid and the France national team. His professional debut was in the 2004-05 season, where he occasionally appeared in the first three seasons as Lyon bagged three titles in that span.
Benzema moved to Real Madrid in 2009 after signing a six-year contract with a $50 million transfer fee. So far, he has earned over 80 caps and represented France at three major international tournaments.
— Ballon d'Or #ballondor (@francefootball) October 17, 2022
While thanking his teammates and coach, the Ballon d’Or winner added that it took much hard work to make this dream come true.
“It makes me really proud … All the work I did, I never gave up. It was a childhood dream like all kids (have). I had two motivations in my life – Zidane and Ronaldo. I’ve always had this dream in my mind that anything is possible.”
Who Were the Other Title Contenders?
Sadio Mane (Bayern Munich)
The player won the Socrate Prize novel award, highlighting a committed champion’s best social initiative. He won the UEFA Nations League last October and had 23 goals and five assists in 51 games for Liverpool. Mane also netted the winning penalty for Senegal in the AFCON final against Egypt. After getting three goals and two assists in the competition, he was named the tournament player.
Robert Lewandowski (Barcelona)
The new Barcelona player was presented the Muller trophy or the “Striker of the Year Award”, which acknowledges the best striker in the world throughout the 2021/22 seasons. While in Bayern, he scored 50 goals in 46 appearances, winning his second consecutive European Golden Shoe. In Barcelona, the striker has maintained his form by bagging 14 goals in 13 games.
Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)
The Manchester City Midfield player was shortlisted alongside Karim Benzema and Sadio Mane, making him the third-best player in the world. His quality and consistency made him the Premier League Player of the Year for the second time. He also had 15 Premier League goals in the 2021/22 season, voted in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year and City’s Player of the year for the fourth time.
Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain)
The lone PSG player did not win any awards during the event. Mbappe, however, scored 39 goals during the 2021/22 competitions and is a two-time French Player of the Year. He was allegedly booed when he made his way to the event.
Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
Though he won no award, the striker was 5th in the shortlisted Ballon d’Or and the highest-ranked Liverpool player. Salah scored 31 goals in the 2021/22 season as Liverpool went on to win the Emirates FA Cup and Carabao Cup. His team also finished in the Premier and Champions League runners-up positions.
Who are the Winners of the other Categories?
Seven awards are presented during the event. They include:
- Men’s Ballon d’Or (Player of the Year): Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)
- Women’s Ballon d’Or (Player of the Year): Alexia Putellas (Barcelona)
- Kopa Trophy (Best U-21 men’s player): Gavi (Barcelona)
- Yashin Trophy (Best men’s GK): Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid)
- Gerd Muller Trophy (Top scorer): Robert Lewandowski (Barcelona)
- Socrates Award (for player acts of solidarity): Sadio Mane (Bayern Munich)
- Club of the Year (club with most Ballon d’Or nominees): Manchester City
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