Karim Benzema gained the boys’s Ballon d’Or for the primary time on Monday after a superb season with Real Madrid capped by the Champions League and Spanish league titles.
Spanish participant Alexia Putellas gained the ladies’s trophy for the second straight yr following one other standout season with Barcelona.
Benzema had his greatest season ever at Madrid, being the highest scorer in each leagues. He scored 44 occasions for Madrid, together with 15 in Europe’s high competitors, and equaled Raul Gonzalez because the membership’s second-highest scorer behind Cristiano Ronaldo.
Benzema, at 34, grew to become the oldest winner for the reason that first recipient in 1956, Stanley Matthews.
“Age is just a number for me,” he mentioned. “People play until their later years now and I still have this burning desire. It is this drive that has kept me going and never allowed me to let up.”
Benzema gained forward of Sadio Mane and Manchester City playmaker Kevin De Bruyne. Mane performed for Liverpool final season and joined Bayern Munich in the summertime.
“I’m really proud, it’s a lot of work and a kid’s dream come true,” Benzema mentioned.
He succeeded Lionel Messi, who gained the award for a record-extending seventh time final yr however was not among the many nominees this time after his first season with Paris Saint-Germain.
For the primary time this yr, the Ballon d’Or was primarily based on achievements from the previous season. It had beforehand been awarded primarily based on performances all through calendar years.
Awarded by France Football journal, the Ballon d’Or has been given out to males for 66 years. The ladies’s trophy was created in 2018, and each had been canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic.
Benzema grew to become the fifth Frenchman to win it after Raymond Kopa, Michel Platini, Jean-Pierre Papin and Zinedine Zidane, who was topped in 1998, the yr France gained its first World Cup.
Benzema was not a part of the France squad that triumphed on the 2018 World Cup in Russia however, barring an harm, will compete on the event in Qatar subsequent month.
After practically six years out following his involvement in a intercourse tape scandal, Benzema was recalled by France coach Didier Deschamps final yr forward of the European Championship and has performed recurrently since.
“There were much more difficult moments for me, when I was not selected (with France) and I did not give up,” Benzema mentioned after Zidane, his former coach at Madrid, handed him the trophy. “I am really proud of my career. This is the Golden Ball of the people.”
Leading an assault that additionally included Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo, Benzema performed a vital function final season to drive Madrid to a record-extending 14th European title, and his fifth since he joined from Lyon in 2009. The Frenchman was the event’s high scorer and discovered the online when it actually mattered, with 10 of his objectives within the knockout phases.
Putellas scored 42 objectives and delivered 22 assists final season. She grew to become the primary participant to win the award twice.
With Barcelona, she gained the Spanish League and reached the Champions League remaining. She has been sidelined since July after injuring her left knee and present process surgical procedure on the eve of the Women’s European Championship.
“When I got injured I didn’t think I’d be here today, but it makes me proud to get recompense for all that hard work,” she mentioned. “I miss playing so much and doing what I like to do the most.”
Putellas beat out fellow forwards Beth Mead of Arsenal and England and Sam Kerr of Chelsea and Australia for the award on the ceremony in Paris. A panel of worldwide journalists selected the winners.
In different awards, the Kopa Trophy for one of the best under-21 participant went to 18-year-old Barcelona midfielder Gavi, whereas Robert Lewandowski gained the Gerd Muller award for one of the best striker of the yr.
The Lev Yashin award for greatest goalkeeper went to Real Madrid’s Thibaut Courtois.
Ballon d’Or organizers added a humanitarian prize named after the late Brazil midfielder Socrates. The trophy went to Mane for his charity work in Senegal together with constructing a hospital and faculty donations.