After a stellar campaign with Real Madrid, which was highlighted by the Champions League and Spanish league crowns, Karim Benzema took home the men’s Ballon d’Or for the very first time on Monday.
Benzema, Putellas Receive Ballon d’Or Trophies As The Best Soccer Players In The World!
At Madrid, the 34-year-old Benzema experienced his finest season to date, leading both divisions in scoring.
He equaled Raul González as the second-highest scorer for Real Madrid with 44 goals, counting 15 in Europe’s top tournament, and finished behind Cristiano Ronaldo.
Alexia Putellas, a Spanish player, won the women’s title for the second year running after having another outstanding season with Barcelona.
Sadio Mané of Liverpool and Kevin De Bruyne, a playmaker for Manchester City, lost to Benzema in the finals.
After winning the award for a record-breaking seventh time last year, Lionel Messi was succeeded by Benzema but was not a nominee this time around due to his inaugural season with Paris Saint-Germain.
In the year, the Ballon d’Or was awarded based on performance from the previous season for the first time. Prior to that, it had been given based on results over calendar years.
Since 1956, when Stanley Matthews won, men have been granted the Ballon d’Or by France Football magazine. The women’s award was introduced in 2018, and due to the pandemic, both were discontinued in 2020.
Following Raymond Kopa, Michel Platini, Jean-Pierre Papin, and Zinedine Zidane, who was awarded in 1998, the year the French won its first World Cup, Benzema became the fifth Frenchman to win it.
Benzema did not play for the France team that won in the 2018 World Cup in Russia but barring an injury, he will take part in the competition in Qatar the following month.
Following an almost six-year absence due to his involvement in the sex video incident, Didier Deschamps, the France coach, called up Benzema last year a while later, of the European Championship, and he has since featured frequently.
Benzema was a key player in helping Madrid win its fifth championship since he signed from Lyon in 2009, setting a career-high 14th European championship while leading an assault that also featured Vincius Jnior and Rodrygo.
Having 10 of his goals coming in the knockout rounds, the Frenchman, the tournament’s leading scorer, struck the back of the net when it mattered.
Last season, Putellas contributed 22 assists along with 42 goals. She was also the first athlete to double up on the honor.
She achieved the Spanish League title and advanced to the Champions League final while playing for Barcelona. After suffering a left knee injury and having surgery on the eve, before the Women’s European Championship, she has been sidelined since July.
At the presentation in Paris, Putellas triumphed against fellow forwards Sam Kerr of Chelsea and Australia and Beth Mead of Arsenal in winning the prize. The awards were chosen by an international jury of journalists.
In other honors, 18-year-old Barcelona midfield Gavi earned the Kopa Trophy for the finest under-21 player, while Robert Lewandowski took home the Gerd Müller for a best striker of the year.
Real Madrid‘s Thibaut Courtois was awarded the Lev Yashin Award for being the best goalkeeper.
The late Brazil footballer Socrates was honored with a humanitarian award added by the Ballon d’Or organizers.
Sadio Mané of Liverpool won the award for his humanitarian efforts in Senegal, which included the construction of a healthcare center, like a hospital, and education funding.