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Real Madrid Striker, Karim Benzema Wins Men’s 2022 Ballon d’Or For First Time

Karim Benzema has won the men’s Ballon d’Or for 2022.

Real Madrid striker, Karim Benzema has won the 2022 Player of the Year Ballon d’Or award in Paris on Monday night.

Real Madrid Striker, Karim Benzema Wins Men's 2022 Ballon d'Or For First Time

Karim Benzema Wins Ballon d’Or Award 2022

The 34-year-old Frenchman, who won the award for the first time in his football career, scored 44 goals in 46 games as he helped Real win the Champions League and La Liga in 2021-22.

He becomes only the second player aside from Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to win the award since 2008. Benzema’s Real Madrid team-mate Luka Modric won the prize in 2018.

This year Messi did not make the cut for the finalists, though Ronaldo did. Messi has won it a record seven times, while Ronaldo has claimed five.

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

The 34-year-old striker is also the oldest Ballon D’Or winner since Stanley Matthews won the first edition of the prize in 1956.

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While receiving the award which was presented by former Real Madrid coach, Zinedine Zidane, Benzema said “This prize in front of me makes me really proud.”

“All the work I did, I never gave up. It was a childhood dream like all kids [have]. I had two motivations in my life – Zidane and Ronaldo. I’ve always had this dream in my mind that anything is possible.

“There was a difficult period where I wasn’t in the French team, but I never stopped working hard nor gave up. I always kept my head, concentrated on playing football and I’m really proud of my journey here. It wasn’t easy, it was a difficult time. It was hard for my family as well. To be here today, for the first time for me, I’m happy and pleased with my work and I keep going.

“I want to thank my team-mates, whether it’s Real Madrid or the national team. My coach, thanks to him as well. The Real Madrid president as well. I have a lot of people to thank. It’s an individual prize, but it’s a collective one because everyone has played a role.”

The 34-year-old added, “Age is just a number for me, people play until their later years now and I still have this burning desire. It is this drive that has kept me going and never allowed me to let up. It kept this dream alive and was the fire behind me. I just want to make the most if it.”

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Watch the video below:

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2022 Ballon d’Or Ranking

1. Karim Benzema (Real Madrid, France).

2. Sadio Mane (Bayern Munich, Senegal).

3. Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City, Belgium).

4. Robert Lewandowski (Barcelona, Poland).

5. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool, Egypt).

6. Kylian Mbappe (Paris St-Germain, France).

7. Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid, Belgium).

8. Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid, Brazil).

9. Luka Modric (Real Madrid, Croatia).

10. Erling Haaland (Manchester City, Norway).

11. Son Heung-min (Tottenham Hotspur, South Korea)

12. Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City, Algeria).

13. Sebastien Haller (Borussia Dortmund, Ivory Coast).

14. Fabinho (Liverpool, Brazil) tied with Rafael Leao (AC Milan, Portugal).

16. Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool, Netherlands).

17. Luis Diaz (Liverpool, Colombia) tied with Dusan Vlahovic (Juventus, Serbia) and Casemiro (Manchester United, Brazil).

20. Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United, Portugal).

21. Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur, England).

22. Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool, England) tied with Phil Foden (Manchester City, England) and Bernardo Silva (Manchester City, Portugal).

25. Joao Cancelo (Manchester City, Portugal) tied with Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich, Germany), Mike Maignan (AC Milan, France), Antonio Rudiger (Real Madrid, Germany), Darwin Nunez (Liverpool, Uruguay) and Christopher Nkunku (RB Leipzig, France).

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