Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema was last night at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris named the 2022 Ballon d’Or winner.
The Frenchman’s heroics last season, leading Real Madrid to both domestic and continental glory was glaring. Not only did the Spanish giants win La Liga last term, but Ancelotti’s men also lifted the UEFA Champions League title in what was an unforgettable campaign from Los Blancos, beating PSG, Chelsea, Man City, and finally Liverpool en route to the trophy.
The 34-year-old scored a whopping 44 goals in 46 appearances across all competitions in 2021/22 and is thus the odds-on favorite to follow in the footsteps of Luka Modric to become the first player besides Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to win this award in the last decade.
This is the first time in 16 years that neither the Ronaldo nor Messi make the top three. In fact, Messi did not even make the 30-man shortlist while the Manchester United superstar made the cut but to no avail.
Benzema is joined in the top three by Robert Lewandowski, the former Bayern Munich sensation who has since joined Barcelona, and Sadio Mane, the former Liverpool star who moved to the Allianz Arena over the summer.
Additionally, Karim is not the only Santiago Bernabeu ace that picked up an award on Monday as Thibaut Courtois won the Yashin Trophy, which honours the best goalkeeper of the season. The Belgian ace, who was named Man of the Match in the UEFA Champions League final against Klopp’s side beat the likes of Alisson at Liverpool, Man City’s Ederson, and 2021 Africa Cup of Nations champion Edouard Mendy.
The other major award is the Kepa Trophy, which is for the best-performing under-21 player, and while this prize went to Barcelona starlet Gavi ahead of the likes of Jamal Musiala, Jude Bellingham and Bukayo Saka that were also in the running for this prize.
Meanwhile, Barcelona sensation Alexia Putellas successfully defended her Women’s Ballon d’Or crown, having won the lovely gong last year. The Spaniard enjoyed another stellar 2021/22 campaign.