Karim Benzema came out on top on the 2022 Ballon d’Or award night, beating off competition from the likes of Sadio Mane, Kevin De Bruyne and Robert Lewandowski to claim the 66th edition of the prestigious prize.
The award took place on Monday, 17th October at the Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris, presented by France Football and hosted by Chelsea and African legend, Didier Drogba alongside French-British TV journalist, Sandy Héribert.
Some Ballon d’Or Background
The Ballon d’Or(Golden Ball) is a prestigious award given out by the French news magazine to the best player in the world over the previous year; who is deemed to have performed better than all others as adjudged by French journalists as well as coaches and captains of national teams.
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The French award was inaugurated in 1956 and has been on for 66 years. Merged with the FIFA World Player of the year in 2010 to become the FIFA Ballon d’Or, the collaboration ended in 2016 with the trophy being reverted to the Ballon d’Or whilst FIFA dubbed their award The Best FIFA Men’s Player.
2022 Ballon d’Or Nominees
This year’s edition was notable for not including 7-time and defending champion Lionel Messi in the list of nominees due to the Argentine’s lacklustre year at Paris Saint-German. It also marked the first time the award was given out for an August-July timeframe.
As with some other editions, it was quite sure that Benzema was going to be crowned the winner considering his more-than-splendid, scintillating performance for Madrid over the past year, a level not even Sadio Mane or Robert Lewandowski came close to.
Le Ballon D’Or Du Peuple pic.twitter.com/IxsDmR2451
— Karim Benzema (@Benzema) October 18, 2022
The Madrid striker had a fantastic season, greatly helping Real Madrid to a record-extending 35th La Liga title, a campaign in which he scored 27 goals in 32 games to claim the Pichichi trophy. This tally made him rank third in the race for the 2021-22 European golden boot, a goal behind Kylian Mbappe’s 28 and 8 goals behind winner, Robert Lewandowski’s tally of 35.
Aside also winning the Supercopa de España, the Frenchman led the European giants to their fourteenth European trophy, finding the back of the net 15 times (the highest in the 2021-22 UCL season) in 12 games in the competition. During their run, he won the UEFA Golden Boot and the UEFA men’s player award in the process. His performance in the UCL ranked as the joint-third highest tally in a UEFA Champions League season–a position shared with Cristiano Ronaldo’s 15 in 2017-18 and Robert Lewandowski’s 15 in 2019-20 and just behind Cristiano Ronaldo’s 17 in the memorable 2013-14 La Décima season and his(also Ronaldo) 16 in the 2015-16 season.
Benzema’s role in winning the UCL was a highly integral one, scoring hat-tricks against the likes of Paris-Saint German and Chelsea as well as providing three crucial goals against Manchester City in the semis. On the national scale, Benzema flourished with the French national team, winning the 2020-21 UEFA Nations League in October and also claiming the award for the French Player of the year.
What to say?! 🤯#ballondor pic.twitter.com/8qYcMozJJV
— Ballon d’Or #ballondor (@francefootball) October 17, 2022
Meanwhile, Sadio Mane came second after also enjoying a memorable season at Anfield, scoring 23 goals in total for his former club. Liverpool were potential winners of a quadruple last season which never materialized. The English side claimed a double consisting of the EFL cup and the FA Cup, defeating Chelsea via penalty-shootouts in the finals of both). They were in the hunt for both the Champions League and the EPL; conceding a 1-0 defeat to Madrid in the finals and finishing a point short of eventual league winners, Manchester City. The forward also helped his country clinch their first ever AFCON trophy in February, defeating Salah’s Egypt in the finals.
Kevin De Bruyne placed third in the competition, being Manchester City’s main player the previous season, tallying 19 goals(only behind Riyad Mahrez’s 24) and 14 assists(the highest for the club last season) and playing a huge role in Manchester City’s eighth EPL title win.
Award Winners and Stats
Benzema’s feat makes him the eighth Madridista to win the Ballon d’or(after Alfred Di Stéfano, Raymond Kopa, Luís Figo, Ronaldo Nazario, Fabio Cannavaro, Cristiano Ronaldo and Luka Modric)
and the twelfth win in the club’s history(1957, 1957, 1959, 2000, 2002, 2006, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2022) tying with Barcelona’s twelve in the process. It also makes him the fifth French Player to win the home-originated trophy(after Raymond Kopa in 1958, Michel Platini in 1983, 1984 and 1985, Jean-Pierre Papin in 1991 and Zinedine Zidane in 1998)
Also Read: Top Football Stats Leaders From 2021-22 Season
2022 Ballon d’Or rankings
- 1. Karim Benzema (Madrid)
- 2. Sadio Mane (Bayern)
- 3. Kevin De Bruyne (Man City)
- 4. Robert Lewandowski (Bayern)
- 5. Mohammed Salah (Liverpool)
- 6. Kylian Mbappe (PSG)
- 7. Thibaut Courtois (Madrid)
- 8. Vinicius Junior (Madrid)
- 9. Luka Modric (Madrid)
- 10. Erling Haaland (Dortmund)
- 11. Son-Heung Min (Tottenham)
- 12. Riyad Mahrez (Man City)
- 13. Sebastian Haller (Ajax)
- 14. Rafael Leao (Milan) and Fabinho (Liverpool)
- 16. Virgil Van Djik (Liverpool)
- 17. Casemiro (Madrid), Dusan Vlahovic (Fiorentina/Juventus) and Luis Diaz (Porto/Liverpool)
- 20. Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)
- 21. Harry Kane (Tottenham)
- 22. Bernardo Silva (Man City), Trent Alexander Arnold (Liverpool) and Phil Foden (Man City)
- 25. Joshua Kimmich (Bayern), Mike Maignan (Milan), Antonio Rudiger (Chelsea), Joao Cancelo (Man City), Darwin Nunez (Benfica) and Christopher Nkunku (RB Leipzig)