Karim Benzema wins Ballon d'Or 2022 after 44 goals in a season; netizens shower blessings
Karim Benzema has won his first-ever Ballon d'Or. His 44-goal performance last season was phenomenal in making him the incumbent champion. He edged past Sadio Mané and Kevin De Bruyne to win it.
It was a glorious moment in his career and life, as French striker Karim Benzema won the 2022 Ballon d'Or title on Monday. It was his first-ever such title, having scored 44 goals last season, playing for Spanish and Europan champion Real Madrid. He was already a big favourite to clinch the title, as he inspired his side to the significant twin titles last season. This time, there was a change in format in deciding the winners, significantly ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, as the performance of a regular season was considered over a calendar year. He surpassed second-placed Senegalese striker Sadio Mane of Liverpool (now Bayern Munich), Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City) and Polish striker Robert Lewandowski for Bayern (now Barcelona).
Egyptian striker Mohamed Salah of Liverpool finished fifth, while French striker Kylian Mbappe of Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) took sixth place. Nonetheless, Lewandowski won the Gerd Muller Award for the best striker. Former Madrid legend and head coach Zinedine Zidane handed Benzema the prestigious Ballon d'Or title at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris.
Although Lewandowski finished ahead of Benzema in terms of goals, the latter scored ten of his goals in the UEFA Champions League (UCL) knockouts, tying him with Portuguese legend and former Madrid teammate Cristiano Ronaldo, with the latter finishing 20th this time. Although Vinicius Junior scored the winner in the final against Liverpool, Benzema's hat-trick against PSG and Chelsea played a decisive role.
Benzema was involved in 59 goals directly and indirectly, while he also came up with 15 assists, just one short of Mbappe's 39 goals and 21 assists. The former had been nominated for the top award in the previous ten instances, only to break into the top ten in 2021. Argentine superstar Lionel Messi took the title last year but wasn't nominated this term.
After winning the Ballon d'Or title, Benzema said, "Seeing this award in front of me makes me proud of my work. It was a childhood dream to have the motivation. I had two role models, Zidane and Ronaldo [of Brazil], and I always dreamed that anything was possible. There was a difficult period where I wasn't in the French team, but I never stopped working hard or gave up."
"Proud of my journey here. It wasn't easy. To be here for the first time, I am happy with my work and want to keep going. I want to thank all my teammates at Real Madrid and France, my coach and the Real Madrid president, who is here this evening, and the support of Jean-Michel Aulas [Lyon president]. There are a lot of people to thank. It is an individual prize but still a collective one because of everyone who played a role in it," added Benzema, reports FotMob.
"Age is just a number for me. People play until their later years now, and I still have this burning desire. This drive has kept me going and never allowed me to let up. It kept this dream alive and was the fire behind me. I want to make the most of it," Benzema concluded.
Complete list of winners:
Ballon d'Or: Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)
Ballon d'Or Féminin: Alexia Putellas (Barcelona)
Kopa Trophy: Gavi (Barcelona)
Yashin Trophy: Thibaut Courtois (Madrid)
Socrates Award: Sadio Mané (Liverpool)
Gerd Müller Trophy: Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)
Club of the Year: Manchester City