Karim Benzema has been awarded the 2022 Ballon d’Or in a ceremony that took place in Paris, succeeding Lionel Messi who received the prize last year.
The French capital is special for the Real Madrid striker, as Los Blancos won their 14th Champions League trophy there just a few months ago.
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, who is Benzema’s most loyal supporter, was there to witness the moment. The two men met 14 years ago in Benzema’s living room in Lyon.
The Ballon d’Or awarded has been handed to Real Madrid players a total of twelve times, matching Barcelona’s figures. The former Los Blancos players who received the prize in the past were Alfredo Di Stefano, Raymond Kopa, Luis Figo, Ronaldo Nazario, Fabio Cannavaro, Cristiano Ronaldo and Luka Modric.
Lionel Messi leads the way with seven Ballon d’Or awards followed by Ronaldo, who has five. Modric finished in ninth position, Vinicius Junior in eighth and Thibaut Courtois in seventh.
The two men to complete on the podium were Sadio Mane and Kevin De Bruyne with Erling Haaland sitting tenth, Kylian Mbappe sixth and Mohamed Salah fifth.
Benzema and Modric are the only two players who have managed to break the Ronaldo-Messi Ballon d’Or duopoly since 2008.
It wasn’t easy for the Frenchman to reach this level, but he adapted to his role after joining Los Blancos and his efforts paid dividends.