Ballon d’or 2022, Karim Benzema enters the legend

The moment of consecration comes. At 34, Karim Benzema was crowned Ballon d’Or by the magazine France Soccer this Monday, October 17, on the occasion of a ceremony organized with great fanfare at the Théâtre du Châtelet, in Paris. A distinction that rewards, beyond an incredible year, an extraordinary career for the striker of Real Madrid and the France team.

By signing in 2009 at Real Madrid, which some might see as an achievement, Karim Benzema was only beginning a long road. A precocious star at Olympique Lyonnais, the young man from Bron found himself in competition with the Franco-Argentinian Gonzalo Higuain before officiating as a supporting role alongside the Portuguese juggernaut Cristiano Ronaldo. In this institution that many call the biggest club in the world, led by the king of construction Florentino Perez, competition is fierce and the requirement is high at its peak.

In 2010, José Mourinho, then coach of the “Casa Blanca”, had also qualified the famous French striker of ” cat “, openly complaining that Karim Benzema was not the hound he needed in his attacking line. RMC journalist Frédéric Hermel, a connoisseur of the Spanish championship, remembers that at the time the Habs had doubts about their future at the club. “It was his father who reassured him by telling him one thing: you have to succeed at Real Madrid, because it is simply your dream. »

Stat Monster

Since then, the cat has become a lion. Freed from a weight after the departure of Ronaldo, during the summer of 2018, Benzema became again at 30 years old this type of attacker capable of tipping a match. “One day, Karim told me that when Ronaldo left, he found the way he played in Lyon”, remembers Fréderic Hermel And this pillar of the show “After Foot” on RMC to explain: “He loves the game so much. He’s not frustrated not to score, as long as he gets others to score. Statistics don’t matter to him. He likes it, like any attacker, but is not satisfied with it. » For the latter, Benzema hates the term “sacrifice”. “’Karim’ in Arabic means ‘generous’. This is how he defines himself on the pitch. »

At a time when we swear by killer attackers and finishers on the pitch, Benzema indeed offers a significant number of assists to his teammates in the Madrid attack, makes the collective shine. “When I play, I try to respect football. Because I love him,confided the person concerned last January to the specialized magazine France Soccer. I can’t shoot from a tight angle when a teammate has come out. I’ll pass the ball to him. »

Scorer, passer, the player goes through full seasons. This Golden Ball completes an exceptional year: 44 goals and 15 assists in 46 appearances in all competitions for Real Madrid in 2021-2022. He won the title of “Pichichi”, the top scorer in La Liga, the Spanish championship which he won with his team. In the Champions League, the queen European competition in which Real also emerged victorious, he scored a whopping 15 goals, more goals alone than 23 of the teams qualified for the competition that year.

A successful return to blue

Adored by the Madrid public, hailed by the press, recognized by his peers, Benzema is now again pampered by French supporters. Leaving behind him the media and legal affairs – from the Zahia affair to the Mathieu Valbuena sextape affair, there will have been several – the Real Madrid star striker has also managed a spectacular return to the Blues . The only player in sight during Euro 2020 (postponed to 2021 due to the health crisis) then savior in the League of Nations, he once again became a centerpiece of Didier Deschamps’ workforce at the dawn of the World Cup. in Qatar. “He was afraid of not coming back, probably he no longer believed in it, remembers Frédéric Hermel. But he surpassed that, to win in a team that had won the world title without him. »

Crowned with the ultimate individual coronation, Benzema joined the very closed circle of tricolor winners of the Ballon d’Or (Kopa in 1958, Platini in 1983, 1984 and 1985, Papin in 1991 and Zidane in 1998). “A reward that goes in the right direction, believes Frédéric Hermel. He brings a touch of aesthetics and artistry, like his teammate Luka Modric. It is reassuring that we do not swear by statistics at a time when we live a particularly athletic football. »


Women’s Ballon d’Or is once again won by the Spaniard Alexia Putellas. She becomes the first player in history to retain her Ballon d’Or.

The Kopa Trophy for the best young playerr in the world in 2022 was awarded to the Spaniard Gavi.

The “Socrates” Prize, rewarding a player for his good deeds outside of football, was presented to Senegalese Sadio Mané. The latter had hospitals built in Bambali, his hometown in Senegal.

The Gerd Muller Trophyrewarding the top scorer of last season, was awarded to the Pole Robert Lewandowski, FC Barcelona player and main rival of Karim Benzema in La Liga.

The Yachine Trophyrewarding the best goalkeeper of the past season was awarded to Thibaut Courtois, the last bastion of Real Madrid and the Belgian selection.

– The Manchester City club, in England, received the club of the year award.

– The Senegalese Sadio Mané (Liverpool), African champion, and the Belgian Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), complete the podium. Kylian Mbappé, the only other Frenchman present among the top 10 players in the final ranking, ranks 6e .


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