Real Madrid’s France forward Karim Benzema won the 2022 Ballon d’Or award for the best men’s player in the world on Monday, while Barcelona’s Spanish midfielder Alexia Putellas won the women’s award for a second time.
Benzema, who played a pivotal role in Real’s run to the Champions League title last season, is the first French player to win the trophy since Zinedine Zidane in 1998 and the fifth after Raymond Kopa, Michel Platini and Jean-Pierre Papin.
“This prize in front of me makes me really proud. When I was small, it was a childhood dream, I never gave up… Anything is possible,” Benzema said on stage at the ceremony.
Benzema beat Poland’s Robert Lewandowski, Sadio Mane of Senegal and Belgium’s Kevin De Bruyne after Argentina’s Lionel Messi won the award for a record seventh time last year.
Benzema had a stellar season with Real, scoring 44 goals in 46 games in all competitions as he helped guide them to a LaLiga and Champions League double. His 15 goals in the Champions League powered Real to a record-extending 14th title.