Karim Benzema of Real Madrid won the 2022 Men’s Ballon d’Or award at the ceremony held in the Theatre du Chatalet in Paris on Tuesday.
Benzema was the favourite to win the award this year after winning the La Liga and Champions League with Real Madrid last season.
In the 2021-22 La Liga season, he finished as the top scorer with 27 goals. Benzema also excelled in Madrid’s Champions League winning run finishing as the competitions top-scorer with 15.
Overall, the forward scored 44 goals and bagged 15 assists in 46 appearances in all competitions.
Highlights Ballon d’Or 2022: Benzema wins his first Ballon d’Or award; Putellas bags women’s Ballon d’Or; Full awards, rankings list
It was not just the goals that paved way for Benzema’s first Ballon d’Or. One of the three main criteria for winning the award is ‘team performance’ and that is where Benzema excelled last season.
His clutch performances in the Champions League was a crucial factor in Madrid winning the Champions League for a record 14th-time.
Benzema scored 10 goals last season in the knockout phase of the Champions League, which included successive hat-tricks against Paris Saint-Germain in the Round-of-16 second leg match and Chelsea in the quarterfinal first-leg match.
He also scored three goals over two legs against Manchester City in the semifinals that helped Madrid beat City 6-5 on aggregate.
Benzema becomes the first Frenchman after Zinedine Zidane to win the Ballon d’Or award also the oldest to win the award since Stanley Mathews in 1956.