Karim Benzema: Real Madrid forward wins his first Ballon d’Or

Bayern Munich’s Sadio Mane and Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne came in second and third

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Real Madrid and France forward Karim Benzema has won his first Ballon d’Or.

Benzema beat Bayern Munich’s Sadio Mane to the men’s top prize, with Manchester City playmaker Kevin De Bruyne in third place.

In the women’s award, England forward Beth Mead had to settle for runner-up as Barcelona and Spain midfielder Alexia Putellas won the trophy for the second successive year.

Benzema, 34, helped Los Blancos win the Champions League, defeating Liverpool in the final, to add to their La Liga success in 2021-22. He scored 44 goals in 46 games across all competitions.

After being presented with the award at a gala ceremony in Paris by Zinedine Zidane, the last Frenchman to win the accolade, in 1998, Benzema said: “Seeing this prize in front of me makes me really proud.

“It was a childhood dream for me and all the work I have done, I never gave up. I am really proud of my journey here.

“It was not easy, it was a difficult time and also for my family as well. When I was not in the France team I never stopped working hard.

“To be standing here today for the first time, I am happy for my work and will keep going.”

Putellas, 28, suffered a knee injury ahead of the start of Euro 2022, where Arsenal striker Mead went on to be top scorer and was named player of the tournament as the Lionesses soared to victory on home soil when they beat Germany in the final at Wembley.

“I’m very happy to be back here and pleased because a year ago I was able to win this prize and it pushed me to want to be even better,” said Putellas, who guided Barcelona to a domestic treble in the 2021-22 campaign.

“Injuring my knee in July, I did not think it would be possible [to win this award].”

Alexia Putellas receives her second Woman's Ballon d'Or award. Getty Images

Chelsea’s Australia striker Sam Kerr finished in third place for the second year running.

England Euro 2022 winners Lucy Bronze and Millie Bright had also been nominated for the women’s prize, ranking 10th and 15th respectively in the France Football poll.

De Bruyne became the first Manchester City player to be shortlisted to the final three of the award.

“I have been nominated quite a few times now, so it means you have been doing well consistently,” the Belgian said.

“To be recognised as a player is always nice. If you are in that list, then it means a lot and after all it is the people’s opinion.”

Robert Lewandowski, who again collected the Gerd Muller trophy for the best striker, finished fourth.

The Poland forward joined Barcelona from Bayern Munich during the summer having scored 50 goals last season for the Bundesliga giants.

Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah placed fifth, with Paris Saint-Germain and France forward Kylian Mbappe in sixth place.

Norway forward Erling Haaland, who joined Manchester City from Borussia Dortmund during the summer and has made a superb start to the new campaign with 20 goals so far, was ranked in 10th overall.

Five-time winner Cristiano Ronaldo finished in 20th place, one ahead of Tottenham forward Harry Kane, with the England captain’s Spurs teammate Son Heung-min 11th.

Last year’s winner, Lionel Messi, did not make the 30-man shortlist after his tough debut season with PSG.

The Yashin Trophy for the best goalkeeper went to Real Madrid’s Thibaut Courtois, who was named man of the match in the Champions League final and also placed seventh in the overall rankings.

The Socrates Award, named after Brazil’s 1982 World Cup captain, for the best social initiatives within the game went to Mane, who has helped to build hospitals and a school in his homeland Senegal.

The Kopa Trophy for the best performing player under 21 went to Barcelona’s Gavi, with England and Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham having also made the final shortlist.

Manchester City were voted club of the year, and chief executive Ferran Soriano said: “This award is recognition of the hard work and dedication found in every department of our organisation.”

Updated: October 18, 2022, 5:11 AM
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