REAL MADRID’S KARIM BENZEMA CROWNED BALLON D’OR WINNER
Karim Benzema was awarded the 2022 Ballon d’Or at a ceremony in Paris on Monday after a stellar 2021-22 season saw him lead Real Madrid to a Champions League and LaLiga double.
Benzema, 34, scored a career-best 27 times in LaLiga last season and was top scorer in the Champions League with 15 goals, including hat tricks against Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea.
He finished ahead of Bayern Munich’s Sadio Mane and Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne, who came in second and third, respectively. Paris Saint-Germain striker Kylian Mbappe came in sixth place, while Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo finished in 20th.
The France international picked up the prize — which is awarded by the magazine France Football — for the first time in his career at a ceremony at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris.
A day earlier, Benzema opened the scoring as Madrid beat Barcelona 3-1 in El Clasico to go three points clear at the top of the LaLiga table.
He is the first Madrid player to receive the award since Luka Modric in 2018, and the the first Frenchman to win since Zinedine Zidane in 1998, who awarded Benzema the trophy.
Lionel Messi won it in 2019 and 2021, while no Ballon d’Or was awarded in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.