Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema was named the greatest male player in the world for 2022, and Barcelona’s Alexia Putellas was named the best female player for a second time.
On Monday, Benzema became the first French player to win the award since Zinedine Zidane in 1998 and the sixth overall after Raymond Kopa, Michel Platini, and Jean-Pierre Papin.
He was instrumental in Real Madrid’s journey to the Champions League victory last season.
Benzema, during the ceremony said, “This prize in front of me makes me really proud. When I was small, it was a childhood dream, I never gave up… Anything is possible.”
“There was a difficult period when I wasn’t in the French team but I never gave up. I’m really proud of my journey here. It wasn’t easy; it was a difficult time for my family as well,” he said.
Benzema had an outstanding season in Madrid with 44 goals in 46 appearances across all competitions helping them win the LaLiga and Champions League double.
He scored 15 goals in the Champions League, helping them win a record-breaking 14th championship.
Spanish international Putellas won the women’s Ballon d’Or for a second consecutive year defeating England’s Beth Mead, and Sam Kerr of Australia.
Putellas, who earlier this year won the FIFA Best Women’s Player award, led all scorers with 11 goals in the Champions League and had 18 goals in the Primera Division last season.