Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema has won the Men’s Ballon d’Or for 2022.

The 34-year-old managed 44 goals in 46 appearances last season as Real won the Champions League, another LaLiga title as well as the Spanish and European Super Cups.

Benzema was crowned at a ceremony in Paris ahead of Sadio Mane in second and Kevin De Bruyne in third – with the striker becoming France’s first Ballon d’Or winner since Zinedine Zidane – who presented him with the award – in 1998.

The striker is also the oldest Ballon D’Or winner since Stanley Matthews won the first edition of the award in 1956.

“It makes me really proud,” Benzema said. “All the work I did, I never gave up. It was a childhood dream like all children [have]. I had two motivations in my life – Zidane and Ronaldo. I always had this dream in my head that anything is possible.

“There was a difficult period when I was not in the France team, but I never stopped working hard or giving up. I always kept my head up, focused on football and I am really proud of my journey here. It was ‘It wasn’t easy, it was a tough time. It was tough for my family too. To be here today, for the first time for me, I’m happy and happy with my work and I continue.

“I want to thank my teammates, be it Real Madrid or the national team. My coach, thanks to him too. The president of Real Madrid too.

“I have a lot of people to thank. It’s an individual award, but it’s a collective award because everyone played a part.”

Putellas wins Women’s Ballon d’Or

How did the Premier League stars fare?

De Bruyne was voted the highest ranked player currently playing in England, with the Manchester City midfielder finishing third.

There was no success for Cristiano Ronaldo as he had to settle for 20th place in this year’s Ballon D’Or honor roll – the lowest position the Manchester United forward has has been listed in this award since 2005.

Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah was voted fifth best player, ahead of PSG’s Kylian Mbappe and Real Madrid’s Champions League winner Vinicius Junior.

Manchester City striker Erling Haaland finished in 10th place, just one place ahead of Tottenham’s Heung-Min Son and two ahead of current team-mate Riyad Mahrez.

Liverpool duo Fabinho and Virgil van Dijk finished 14th and 16th respectively, while Luis Diaz, Casemiro, Bernardo Silva, Phil Foden, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Darwin Nunez and Joao Cancelo made up the rest of the shortlist of 25 men.

Other winners

Image:
Barcelona’s Alexia Putellas celebrates after winning the Women’s Ballon d’Or Pic: AP

The women’s award went to Barcelona star Alexia Putellas, who edged out runner-up Beth Mead of England for the award after guiding the Catalan club to the Spanish title with a 100 per cent total on points.

Manchester City were named Club of the Year at the Paris ceremony after winning their fourth Premier League title in five seasons, beating Liverpool and Real Madrid.

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