Football News

Karim Benzema wins the 2022 Ballon d’Or: How the football world reacted

By Harry Edwards

Published: 21:06, 17 October 2022

Karim Benzema has been confirmed as the 2022 Ballon d’Or winner, pipping Sadio Mane to the award on Monday night.

The Frenchman had been a strong favourite for the award after his role in helping Real Madrid secure the league and Champions League Double last season, becoming just the second player outside of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to win the Ballon d’Or since 2007 (alongside Real Madrid teammate Luka Modric).

Unlike previous editions, the 2022 Ballon d’Or brought in a new rule which saw the award period fall in line with the main European season from August to July as opposed to the calendar year. So for men’s football, only performances running from the start of the 2021/22 campaign to the end of the June internationals would be taken into account, placing a lot of emphasis on the Champions League and the Africa Cup of Nations.

That wasn’t the only change to the way the voting would be influenced, with new jurors including Didier Drogba, the exclusion of representative from outside the top 100 countries in Men’s football (as per the FIFA world rankings) and no consideration for the player’s career, with a view to creating a more open playing field.

As mentioned, Benzema was the clear favourite for the prize after his stunning 2021/22. Benzema has always been a great player but the Frenchman has truly thrived in the past few years, finally getting the plaudits he deserves as Real Madrid’s leading man.

In La Liga, Benzema scored 27 goals to win the Pichichi award and added a further 12 assists with only Ousmane Dembele (13) managing more across the campaign. But the Frenchman’s contributions in front of goal brought Real Madrid the league title, as Los Blancos finished 13 points clear of second-placed Barcelona. Benzema also topped La Liga for goals scored from open play (18), shots (128) and shots on target (59), with 15 Big Chances created too and a league-high xG of 25.29.

The Frenchman also finished as top scorer in the Champions League with 15 goals to help Real Madrid secure a 14th European Cup, double their closest contenders. It was a phenomenal run from Benzema and Real Madrid too, knocking out PSG, Chelsea, Manchester City en route to the final where they beat Liverpool. Only Liverpool and Inter managed to keep Benzema from scoring in the Champions League last season, with hat-tricks against PSG and Chelsea (plus another vs the Blues) and three across two legs against Man City – not to mention two assists. Again, Benzema had the most goals from open play, most shots and shots on target in the Champions League, but his 15 goals came from an xG of just 8.37, a remarkable positive difference of 6.63.

Last year also saw Benzema return to the French national team and during the 2021/22 campaign he scored six goals in 10 matches including two in the Uefa Nations League, which Les Bleus won. The win saw Benzema finally fulfil his dream from 2015, not quite needing 80 goals in the year.

“Winning the Ballon d’Or remains one of my objectives,” Benzema told beIN Sport seven years ago.

“I am not going to lie about it. The Ballon d’Or is always in the back of my mind. Every player dreams of winning it.

“What I would need to do to win it? I would have to win a lot of titles and score 80 goals or so in one year!”

And fans on social media were extremely happy to see Benzema finally getting his flowers.


Full 2022 Ballon d’Or ranking:

  • 1. Karim Benzema (Real Madrid/France)
  • 2. Sadio Mane (Liverpool/Bayern Munich/Senegal)
  • 3. Kevin De Bruyne (Man City/Belgium)
  • 4. Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich/Barcelona/Poland)
  • 5. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool/Egypt)
  • 6. Kylian Mbappe (PSG/France)
  • 7. Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid/Belgium)
  • 8. Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid/Brazil)
  • 9. Luka Modric (Real Madrid/Croatia)
  • 10. Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund/Man City/Norway)
  • 11. Son Heung-min (Tottenham/South Korea)
  • 12. Riyad Mahrez (Man City/Algeria)
  • 13. Sebastien Haller (Ajax/Borussia Dortmund/Ivory Coast)
  • 14=. Fabinho (Liverpool/Brazil)
  • 14=. Rafael Leao (AC Milan/Portugal)
  • 16. Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool/Netherlands)
  • 17=. Casemiro (Real Madrid/Man Utd/Brazil)
  • 17=. Dusan Vlahovic (Fiorentina/Juventus/Serbia)
  • 17=. Luis Diaz (Porto/Liverpool/Colombia)
  • 20. Cristiano Ronaldo (Man Utd/Portugal)
  • 21. Harry Kane (Tottenham/England)
  • 22=. Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool/England)
  • 22=. Phil Foden (Man City/England)
  • 22=. Bernardo Silva (Man City/Portugal)
  • 25=. Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich/Germany)
  • 25=. Mike Maignan (AC Milan/France)
  • 25=. Antonio Rudiger (Chelsea/Real Madrid/Germany)
  • 25=. Joao Cancelo (Man City/Portugal)
  • 25=. Christopher Nkunku (RB Leipzig/France)
  • 25=. Darwin Nunez (Benfica/Liverpool/Uruguay)

Alexia Putellas wins Ballon d’Or Feminin

The Ballon d’Or Feminin has been awarded four times now since its inception in 2018, and half of those have now gone to Barcelona’s Alexia Putellas. Although the midfielder missed Spain’s Euro 2022 campaign through injury, Putellas had another phenomenal season as Barcelona went perfect in the league as well as reaching the Champions League final. England’s Beth Mead secured second place for her excellent season for Arsenal and at Euro 2022, winning the Player of the Tournament and Golden Boot as the Lionesses won the trophy, while Sam Kerr finished third.

  • 1. Alexia Putellas (Barcelona/Spain)
  • 2. Beth Mead (Arsenal/England)
  • 3. Sam Kerr (Chelsea/Australia)
  • 4. Lena Oberdorf (Wolfsburg/Germany)
  • 5. Aitana Bonmati (Barcelona/Spain)
  • 6. Alexandra Popp (Wolfsburg/Germany)
  • 7. Ada Hegerberg (Lyon/Norway)
  • 8. Wendie Renard (Lyon/France)
  • 9. Catarina Macario (Lyon/USA)
  • 10. Lucy Bronze (Man City/Barcelona/England)
  • 11. Vivianne Miedema (Arsenal/Netherlands)
  • 12. Christiane Endler (Lyon/Chile)
  • 13. Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride/San Diego Wave/USA)
  • 14. Selma Bacha (Lyon/France)
  • 15. Millie Bright (Chelsea/England)
  • 16. Asisat Oshoala (Barcelona/Nigeria)
  • 17. Marie-Antoinette Katoto (PSG/France)
  • 18. Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit/USA)
  • 19. Fridolina Rolfo (Barcelona/Sweden)
  • 20. Kadidiatou Diani (PSG/France)

Gavi claims Kopa Trophy

For the second year in a row a Barcelona player has taken the Kopa Trophy for the best U21 player, with Gavi following in Pedri’s footsteps. The 18-year-old Spaniard finished ahead of Real Madrid’s Eduardo Camavinga and Jamal Musiala of Bayern Munich.

  • 1. Gavi (Barcelona/Spain)
  • 2. Eduardo Camavinga (Rennes/Real Madrid/France)
  • 3. Jamal Musiala (Bayern Munich/Germany)
  • 4. Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund/England)
  • 5. Nuno Mendes (PSG/Portugal)
  • 6=. Josko Gvardiol (RB Leipzig/Croatia)
  • 6=. Ryan Gravenberch (Ajax/Bayern Munich/Netherlands)
  • 8. Bukayo Saka (Arsenal/England)
  • 9. Karim Adeyemi (Red Bull Salzburg/Borussia Dortmund/Germany)
  • 10. Florian Wirtz (Bayer Leverkusen/Germany)

Thibaut Courtois wins Yashin Trophy

Thibaut Courtois was phenomenal in the 2021/22 Champions League final, inspiring Real Madrid to beat Liverpool with nine saves and a clean sheet. Across the campaign overall, he made 59 saves, the most ever recorded in a single Champions League season, there really was no other winner.

  • 1. Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid/Belgium)
  • 2. Alisson (Liverpool/Brazil)
  • 3. Ederson (Man City/Brazil)
  • 4. Edouard Mendy (Chelsea/Senegal)
  • 5. Mike Maignan (AC Milan/France)
  • 6. Kevin Trapp (Eintracht Frankfurt/Germany)
  • 7. Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich/Germany)
  • 8. Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid/Slovenia)
  • 9. Yassine Bounou (Sevilla/Morocco)
  • 10. Hugo Lloris (Tottenham/France)