Having led Real Madrid to a Champions League and LaLiga double, Karim Benzema capped a stellar 2021-22 season on Monday with the awarding of the Ballon d’Or in Paris. Benzema becomes only the fifth Frenchman to win the prize and is the oldest winner since Stanley Matthews in 1956. The 34-year-old scored a career-best 27 times in LaLiga and was the top scorer in the Champions League with 15 goals.
“I’m really proud seeing this prize, it’s been my dream since I was a kid. I grew up with this in my head, and after that I had the motivation,” Benzema said.
In thirteen years with Madrid, Benzema has brought home five Champions League trophies, four LaLiga titles, two Copas del Rey, four UEFA Super Cups, and four Spanish Supercopas. Sadio Mane of Bayern Munich and Kevin de Bruyne of Manchester City finished second and third in the voting, respectively. More importantly, the victory ends the stranglehold Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have had on the award. Messi and Ronaldo were winners of 12 of the last 13 trophies, with Luka Modric’s 2018 win the only exception.
Barcelona midfielder Alexia Putellas won the Ballon d’Or Feminin for a second consecutive year. Putellas, 28, becomes the first woman to win the award twice since its inception in 2018. Prior to suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament, Putellas led Barcelona to a third straight Primera Division title. She scored 11 goals in the Champions League and was later named UEFA Women’s Player of the Year. In addition, Putellas scored 18 league goals from midfield, four in the Copa de la Reina and one in the Super Cup.
“Without my teammates this would not have been possible,” Putellas said after receiving the award. “I want to thank the staff and the coach and everyone involved at Barcelona. I’m very happy to be back here and pleased because a year ago I was able to win this prize and it pushed me to want to be even better.”
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