Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

Karim Benzema has been awarded the Ballon d’Or on Monday at the Ballon d’Or ceremony in Paris. It is the first time the 34 year-old has won the award.

For only the second time in the last 15 years, Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo have not won the Ballon d’Or. As expected, Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema lifted football’s most valuable individual trophy for the first time in his career. 

The 34 year-old beat 29 other contenders for the award after having a tremendous season for ‘Los Blancos‘. For the first time, the prize was awarded based on the season (2021-22) rather than a calendar year. The winner is decided after votes from football journalists as well as coaches and capitains of national teams.

Benzema scored a record 44 goals, 14 higher than his record tally since moving to the Spanish capital. He also netted provided 15 assists, the same number he got in the 2011-12 and 2012-13 campaigns. He also helped Real Madrid cruise to the La Liga title with 86 points out of a possible 114, 13 ahead of nearest challengers Barcelona. In addition, he was key to Real Madrid winning the Champions League for the first time in four years following a 1-0 victory over Liverpool at the Stade de France.

He was the Champions League’s top scorer with 15 goals and he stepped at crucial times.  Benzema netted a hat-trick as Real Madrid came from two goals down to eliminate PSG in the last 16 while he also scored a hat-trick away to Chelsea in the quarter-final first leg before netting the decisive goal in extra-time at the Bernabeu. If that was not enough, he scored twice in the 4-3 defeat to Man City at the Etihad before converting a crucial spot kick in extra-time after Rodrygo had struck twice in the closing stages. 

Despite football being a team game and other players such as Rodrygo, Vinicius, Courtois and Modric also playing crucial roles in Real Madrid’s success, Benzema was undoubtedly the standout performer last season and fully deserved the award. 

(Sky Sport)

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