Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema named Uefa Player of the Year

Carlos Ancelotti takes coaching honours in double delight for Spanish and European champions

Real Madrid attacker French Karim Benzema and manager Carlo Ancelotti pose with their awards during the Uefa Champions League group stage draw in Istanbul on August 25, 2022. EPA
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Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema was named Uefa Player of the Year and Carlo Ancelotti took the coaching honours after they led the club to a record-extending 14th Champions League title last season.

Benzema was in superb form, scoring 15 times in the competition and lifting the trophy for a fifth time in his career after the Spanish side beat Liverpool in the final.

The 34-year-old scored hat-tricks against Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea in the knockout rounds and netted three times across the two legs of the semi-final against Manchester City.

Benzema took the men's honours ahead of club teammate Thibaut Courtois and Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne, succeeding Chelsea midfielder Jorginho who won the award last year.

Real also secured a 35th La Liga title, finishing 13 points clear of old rivals Barcelona, with Benzema finishing as top scorer with 27 goals – and with an astonishing 44 goals in 46 games across all competitions.

The France attacker is also overwhelming favourite to lift the Ballon d'Or award for his exploits last season.

Ancelotti became the first coach to win Europe's most prestigious club trophy four times. He first won the title with AC Milan in 2003 and 2007 before claiming it with Real in 2014.

When asked how he had become the most successful coach in the competition, Ancelotti said: “The passion I have for the sport and the quality of the players.

“Last season there was a fantastic connection between the veterans and young ones, there was fantastic chemistry with the supporters that helped us reach an unbelievable achievement.”

Gallery: Liverpool win Champions League

On Benzema, Ancelotti said: “Karim is not just a fantastic striker and top scorer, he's a fantastic footballer, supported by great attitude day by day.

“Compared to last year, this year he improved his knowledge, he knows the game really well, how to manage the game and he's a strong leader in the dressing room and a good friend of mine. We are lucky to have Karim.”

Barcelona women's Alexia Putellas won the women's player of the year, beating England's Beth Mead and Germany's Lena Oberdorf to the top prize.

Putellas, who won award last year along with the Ballon d'Or, netted 34 goals for Barcelona last season as the club won all the domestic trophies and reached the Champions League final.

However, the 28-year-old did not play in the Euros after tearing her knee ligaments in training.

England manager Sarina Wiegman has been named Coach of the Year after leading the Lionesses to a historic victory at the Euros.

Updated: August 25, 2022, 6:16 PM
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