Alexia Butellas and Karim Benzema have been chosen as the 2022 Ballon d’Or winners at the annual football awards ceremony in Paris.
Butellas retained her title as the best women’s player in the world with 18 goals as she led Barcelona to another Spanish title. Barca won all 30 of their league games and won the Spanish Cup and Super Cup, but lost the Women’s Champions League final to Lyon and she missed the Euros with an ACL injury.
“I’m very happy to be back here,” Butellas said. “Winning last year motivated me to be even better. Without my teammates, none of this would have been possible. I would like to thank the coaches and technical staff who help me improve every day.
Benzema has won the men’s award for the first time since taking the lead Real Madrid Spanish title and their 14th European Cup. The 34-year-old scored 27 goals in La Liga and is the top scorer in the Champions League with 15. Ten of those goals came in the knockout stages, including hat-tricks against Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea. He is the first French player to win the award since Zinedine Zidane in 1998.
After receiving a standing ovation from the crowd, Benzema said: “This prize in front of me makes me very proud. I never gave up, it was a childhood dream. There was a difficult period when I was not in the France team, but I worked hard. I had this joy of playing football in my head; I am very proud of my journey here.
French President Emmanuel Macron, “KB9!” He tweeted that. With the French flag after the finish. Macron then posted a second tweet: “Two letters and a number will go down in football history. Twenty-four years after Zidane, Karim Benzema brings France a new Ballon d’Or. Congratulations to him!”
Beth Meade finished second in the women’s poll after helping England to glory at Euro 2022. The Arsenal forward scored six goals and added five assists to win the tournament’s Golden Boot and Player of the Year awards.
Australia and Chelsea forward Sam Kerr finished third ahead of Germany and Wolfsburg midfielder Lena Oberdorf. Butellas’ Spain and Barca teammate Aydana Bonmetti rounded out the top five.
Sadio Mané, who left Liverpool for Bayern Munich this summer, finished second in the men’s poll and won the Socrates Award for his charity work in Senegal. Manchester City playmaker Kevin De Bruyne finished third, ahead of Robert Lewandowski and Mohamed Salah, his highest ever.
Lewandowski, who joined Barcelona from Bayern Munich this summer, finished fourth in the men’s rankings and also won the Gert Müller trophy for the world’s best forward. “I want to thank my teammates from both Bayern and Barca because I know how hard we have to work to score goals,” he said.
Salah finished fifth, with PSG forward Kylian Mbappe sixth. Thibaut Courtois won the Lev Yashin trophy for the world’s best goalkeeper and finished seventh overall, with his Real Madrid teammates Vinicius Junior and Luka Modric eighth and ninth. Erling Holland (10th) finished in the top 10 for the first time.
Spain and Barcelona midfielder Kavi won the Copa Men’s Under-21 trophy last season, following on from teammate Petri’s success. Manchester City have been named Club of the Year after Pep Guardiola’s side won their fourth Premier League title in five seasons.
The changes to the format of the awards, organized by France Football magazine, saw performances judged across the 2021-22 season rather than the calendar year for the first time. The men’s jury was also reduced from 170 to 100, while the women’s prize had 50 judges.
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