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News ID: 107951
Publish Date : 18 October 2022 - 21:44
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PARIS (AFP) - Karim Benzema has won the men’s Ballon d’Or, becoming just the second player outside of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to be awarded the prize in the past 15 years. Benzema won the trophy after leading Real Madrid to the LaLiga and Champions League double last season and scoring a remarkable 44 goals in 46 appearances for the Spanish club.
Benzema finished ahead of Sadio Mane and Kevin De Bruyne at the Paris ceremony to crown a sensational year for the France international, as he followed his Real Madrid team-mate Luka Modric by breaking through Messi and Ronaldo’s dominance of football’s greatest individual prize.
The 34-year-old is also the oldest winner of the Ballon d’Or since Stanley Matthews won the inaugural award in 1956, as well as the first French winner of the prize since Zinedine Zidane in 1998. Zidane, who managed Benzema across two spells at Real Madrid, was in Paris to present the striker with the award.
“This prize in front of me makes me proud of the work I did from a young age,” Benzema said. “I had the motivation and I always had this dream in my mind that anything was possible. There were difficult periods where I wasn’t in the French team but I kept working hard. I’m really proud of my journey here. It wasn’t easy, it was difficult and it was hard for my family as well. But to be here today, I’m just really happy.”
Earlier, Barcelona captain Alexia Putellas became the first two-time winner of the Ballon d’Or Feminin after taking back-to-back awards. England and Arsenal forward Beth Mead, who was the top scorer at Euro 2020, finished second, ahead of the Chelsea striker Sam Kerr.
Barcelona midfielder Gavi won the Kopa Trophy for best young player while Thibaut Courtois won the Yashin Trophy for best goalkeeper, as Manchester City received the award for club of the year.
Putellas was ruled out of the Euro 2020 finals this summer due to injury and although her Barcelona team were defeated in the final of the Women’s Champions League by Lyon, the midfielder’s performances for the Spanish champions remained a level above the game during her side’s run to the final. Putellas continues to be sidelined by a serious knee injury but declared that she hoped to return ahead of next summer’s Women’s World Cup.
Benzema’s displays and goals in the Champions League knockout stages, where he scored 10 goals in seven appearances from the round of 16 onwards, were also complimented by dramatic winners in the comeback victories over Chelsea and Manchester City on the way to defeating Liverpool in the Paris final.
It also came as the striker also seized the stage for the first time in his career, after years of supporting Cristiano Ronaldo in attack during Real Madrid’s previous Champions League winning campaigns. “He keeps getting better with age,” Ancelotti said of his captain, as he claimed the individual prize that for large parts of his career had been difficult to imagine.

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