- Real Madrid and France striker Karim Benzema won the 2022 Ballon d’Or award
- Frenchman beat Man City’s Kevin De Bruyne and Bayern Munich’s Sadio Mane
- Deserved award for the Frenchman after scintillating season up-front last year
- Elsewhere, Barcelona forward Alexia Putellas won the women’s Ballon d’Or
Real Madrid and France striker Karim Benzema etched his name into history as he won the 2022 Ballon d’Or award.
At a glittering ceremony in Paris’ Theatre Du Chatelet on Monday night, the Frenchman clinched football’s most prestigious award ahead of Bayern Munich’s Sadio Mane and Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne.
It’s deserved recognition for the 34-year-old after his tremendous form this calendar year. He played a big role in Madrid’s Champions League glory in May and has continued to impress during the 2022-23 campaign.
Speaking after winning the award, Benzema said: ‘To see this prize in front of me makes me really proud. It was a childhood dream for me and all the work I have done, I never gave up.
‘I always had in my mind that anything was possible, when I was not in the France team I never stopped working hard.
‘I am really proud of my journey here. It was not easy, it was a difficult time and also for my family as well. To be standing here today for the first time, I am happy for my work and will keep going.
He became the ninth Real Madrid player to claim the award since 2000 and just the fifth Frenchman to ever win the trophy.
The other players included in the top ten, in descending order, were Erling Haaland, Luka Modric, Vinicius Jr, Thibaut Courtois, Kylian Mbappe, Mohamed Salah and Robert Lewandowski.
2022 BALLON D’OR TOP 25 RANKINGS
25. Darwin Núñez, Christopher Nkunku, Joao Cancelo, Antonio Rudige, Mike Maignan, Joshua Kimmich
22. Phil Foden, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Bernardo Silva
21. Harry Kane
20. Cristiano Ronaldo
17. Luis Diaz, Dusan Vlahovic, Casemiro
16. Virgil van Dijk
14. Fabinho, Rafael Leao
13. Sebastian Haller
12. Riyad Mahrez
11. Heung-Min Son
10. Erling Haaland
9. Luka Modric
8. Vinicius Jr
7. Thibaut Courtois
6. Kylian Mbappe
5. Mohamed Salah
4. Robert Lewandowski
3. Kevin De Bruyne
2. Sadio Mane
1. Karim Benzema
There was particular debate around the Sebastian Haller’s placement at 13th in the rankings, which was higher than the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Harry Kane and Virgil van Dijk.
The 28-year-old forward has not played a club game of football since May 2021 after being diagnosed with a malignant testicular tumour.
Meanwhile, the six players who finished 25th – Darwin Nunez, Christopher Nkunku, Joao Cancelo, Antonio Rudiger and Mike Maignan – did not receive a single vote for the award.
The top rest of the top 25 included Phil Foden, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Bernardo Silva, Harry Kane, Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Diaz, Dusan Vlahovic, Casemiro, Virgil van Dijk, Fabinho, Rafael Leao, Sebastian Haller, Riyad Mahrez and Heung-Min Son.
There were a number of other awards dished out on the night, with Barcelona star Alexia Putellas becoming the first female player to win the Ballon d’Or back-to-back times after clinching the 2022 award.
Fellow Barcelona player Gavi was awarded the Kopa Trophy – given to the best under 21 player – while Benzema’s club team-mate Thibaut Courtois won the Yashin Trophy following his heroics in goal for Los Blancos last year.
Bayern Munich’s Sadio Mane and Barcelona’s Robert Lewandowski did not leave empty handed; with the former clinching the Socrates award – given for humanitarian work – and the latter winning the Gerd Muller award, given to the best striker of the year.
Manchester City picked up the Club of the Year award given their success both on and off the pitch this year.
2022 BALLON D’OR AWARDS
Kopa Trophy: Gavi (Barcelona)
Yashin Trophy: Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid)
Gerd Muller Award: Robert Lewandowski (Barcelona)
Socrates Award: Sadio Mane (Bayern Munich)
Ballon d’Or Feminin: Alexia Putellas (Barcelona)
Club of the Year: Manchester City
Ballon d’Or: Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)