After phenomenal performances throughout the 2020/21 season in helping their teams secure new Spanish league titles, Real Madrid’s forward, Karim Benzema, and Barcelona’s midfielder, Alexia Putellas, have won the men’s and women’s Ballon d’Or for 2022.
The annual football award, previously rewarded based on performances throughout the calendar year, was for the first time this year given based on achievements from the past season.
Following Lionel Messi’s record seventh win last year, Benzema topped fellow nominees, former Liverpool striker Sadio Mané and Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne, to win the Ballon d’Or for the first time, becoming the oldest player at 34 to win since the first recipient in 1956. Benzema, who said he regarded age as just a number, expressed that he was driven by a burning desire to play and that desire has not allowed him to stop.
The French footballer completed a stellar 2020/21 season with the Spanish club, leading Madrid to both a Champions League and a Spanish league title. Benzema was the top scorer in both leagues, netting a total of 44 goals for Real Madrid and equalling Ral González’s record as the club’s second-highest scorer behind Cristiano Ronaldo.
“I’m really proud, it’s a lot of work and a kid’s dream come true,” Benzema stated.
Meanwhile, Alexia Putellas completed a successful season with Barcelona to make history as the first female player to win the Ballon d’Or back-to-back. The 28-year-old scored 18 goals and recorded 15 assists last season, helping her team win all 30 matches, as well as a historic Spanish league title.