Real Madrid Striker, Karim Benzema has been crowned the 2022 Ballon d’Or Winner during Monday night’s ceremony in Paris.
Having been nominated for the award nine times before, Benzema has now been declared the winner this year after enjoying a stellar season leading the line for Real Madrid.
The 34-year-old scored key goals as he helped Real Madrid win both the Spanish league title and the Champions League last season.
Benzema scored a total 44 goals in 46 appearances during the 2021-2022 season, including finishing with 15 goals in the Champions League — the competition’s top scorer — as well as reestablishing himself in France’s international side.
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have won 12 of the last 13 Ballons d’Or, dominating the male side of the sport since 2008. Luka Modric is the sole outlier, claiming the award in 2018, and it’s expected that another Madrid star will break the duopoly this time around.
Although Messi won it in 2019 and 2021 — with the 2020 edition canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic — neither the Argentine nor Ronaldo were named on the 30-man shortlist for this year’s award, with both enduring stilted seasons at their respective clubs.
Benzema who was crowned as the champion having narrowly missed out on a place on the podium in last year’s ceremony, when Messi pipped Robert Lewandowski to the crown with Chelsea midfielder and Italy international Jorginho ranking third.
Benzema was the odds-on favourite thanks to a sensational 21-22 campaign – headlined by a Champions League triumph, with his remarkable performances seeing his side oust Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea, Man City and Liverpool on their way to winning the competition.
— Ballon d'Or #ballondor (@francefootball) October 17, 2022
However, Benzema’s Real Madrid teammate Thibaut Courtois emerge as the Yashin Trophy Winner, the award which recognises the Best Goalkeeper of last season.
The Kopa trophy – the award for the best young player in world football, named in tribute to French icon Raymond – goes to Barcelona midfielder Gavi, one year after his teammate Pedri scooped the gong.