Karim Benzema has won the men’s Ballon d’Or, becoming just the second player, alongside Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, to win the award in the last 15 years. Benzema won the trophy after guiding Real Madrid to LaLiga and Champions League doubles last season, scoring a remarkable 44 goals in 46 games for the Spanish club.
Benzema ended the Paris ceremony ahead of Sadio Mane and Kevin De Bruyne to cap a sensational year for the France international as he followed Real Madrid teammate Luka Modric in breaking the dominance of Messi and Ronaldo in football’s biggest single prize .
The 34-year-old is also the oldest winner of the Ballon d’Or since Stanley Matthews won first prize in 1956, as well as the first French winner of the award since Zinedine Zidane in 1998. Zidane, who managed Benzema through two stints at Real Madrid, was in Paris to present the striker with the award.
“This award in front of me makes me proud of the work I’ve done since I was little,” said Benzema. “I had the motivation and I always had this dream in my head that anything is possible. There were difficult times when I wasn’t in the French team, but I kept working hard. I’m really proud of my trip here. It wasn’t easy, it was difficult and it was tough on my family too. But to be here today, I’m just happy.”
Previously, Barcelona captain Alexia Putellas became the first two-time Ballon d’Or Feminine winner after winning back-to-back awards. England and Arsenal striker Beth Mead, who was top scorer at Euro 2020, finished second ahead of Chelsea striker Sam Kerr.
Barcelona midfielder Gavi won the Kopa Trophy for Best Young Player while Thibaut Courtois won the Yashin Trophy for Best Goalkeeper while Manchester City took home the Club of the Year award.
Putellas was ruled out of this summer’s Euro 2020 finals through injury and although her Barcelona side were defeated by Lyon in the Women’s Champions League final, the midfielder’s performance for the Spanish champions remained a level above the game during her side’s run the final. Putellas remains sidelined with a serious knee injury but said she hopes to return before next summer’s Women’s World Cup.
Benzema’s appearances and goals in the Champions League knockout stages, where he scored ten goals in seven games from the round of 16, were also highlighted by dramatic wins in comeback victories over Chelsea and Manchester City en route to beating Liverpool in Paris complete finals.
It also came as the forward took the stage for the first time in his career after years of supporting Cristiano Ronaldo in attack during Real Madrid’s previous Champions League-winning campaigns. “He gets better and better with age,” Ancelotti said of his captain as he won the individual award that was hard to imagine for much of his career.
Ballon d’Or: Men’s Ranking
1st: Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)
2nd: Sadio Mane (Liverpool)
3rd: Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)
4th: Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)
5th: Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
6′: Kylian Mbappe (PSG)
7th: Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid)
8th: Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid)
9th: Luka Modric (Real Madrid)
10th: Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund)
11th: Son Heung-min (Tottenham Hotspur)
12: Riad Mahrez (Manchester City)
13′: Sebastien Haller (Ajax)
=14th: Fabinho (Liverpool)
=14th: Rafael Leão (Milan)
16′: Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)
= 17th: Casemiro (Real Madrid)
= 17th: Dusan Vlahović (Fiorentina, Juventus)
= 17th: Luis Diaz (Porto, Liverpool)
20′: Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus, Manchester United)
21st: Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur)
= 22nd: Trent Alexander Arnold (Liverpool)
= 22nd: Phil Foden (Manchester City)
= 22nd: Bernardo Silva (Manchester City)
= 25th: Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich)
= 25th: Mike Maignan (Milan)
= 25th: Antonio Ruediger (Chelsea)
= 25th: Joao Cancelo (Manchester City)
= 25th: Christopher Nkunku (RB Leipzig)
= 25th: Darwin Nunez (Benfica)
Ballon d’Or: women’s ranking
1st: Alexia Putellas (Barcelona)
2nd: Beth Mead (Arsenal)
3rd: Sam Kerr (Chelsea)
4th: Lena Oberdorf (Wolfsburg)
5th: Aitana Bonmati (Barcelona)
6th: Alexandra Popp (Wolfsburg)
7th: Ada Hegerberg (Lyons)
8th: Wendie Renard (Lyons)
9th: Catarina Macario (Lyons)
10th: Lucy Bronze (Manchester City)
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/karim-benzema-real-madrid-alexia-putellas-beth-mead-liverpool-b2204737.html Karim Benzema wins the men’s Ballon d’Or while Alexia Putellas retains the women’s award