- Karim Benzema won the men’s Ballon d’Or for the first time after a brilliant season with Real Madrid capped by the Champions League and Spanish La Liga titles.
- Benzema, who is the first French winner of the most prestigious individual prize in football since Zinedine Zidane in 1998, scored 44 goals in 46 games for his club including 15 in the Champions League.
- Spanish player Alexia Putellas won the women’s trophy for the second straight year following another standout season with Barcelona.
- Benzema won ahead of Liverpool’s Sadio Mané and Manchester City playmaker Kevin De Bruyne.
- Benzema succeeded Lionel Messi, who won the award for a record-extending seventh time last year but was not among the nominees this time after his first season with Paris Saint-Germain.
- For the first time this year, the Ballon d’Or was based on achievements from the past season. It had previously been awarded based on performances throughout calendar years.
- Awarded by France Football magazine, the Ballon d’Or has been given out to men every year since 1956 when Stanley Matthews won. The women’s trophy was created in 2018, and both were canceled in 2020 because of the pandemic.
- Benzema became the fifth Frenchman to win it after Raymond Kopa, Michel Platini, Jean-Pierre Papin and Zinedine Zidane, who was crowned in 1998, the year France won its first World Cup.
- Benzema was not part of the France squad that triumphed at the 2018 World Cup in Russia but, barring an injury, will compete at the tournament in Qatar next month.
Alexia Putellas and Karim Benzema won 2022 Ballon d’Or awards
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