REAL MADRID striker Karim Benzema won the Ballon d’Or award for the best player in the world on Monday, beating Robert Lewandowski, Sadio Mane and Kevin De Bruyne to the top prize at the award ceremony in Paris.
Meanwhile, Barcelona’s Alexia Putellas won the women’s title for a second successive year.
Benzema, who played a pivotal role in Real’s run to the Champions League title last season, is the first French player to win the trophy since Zinedine Zidane in 1998, who presented the award on Monday night to a player he coached at Real.
“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,” Benzema said on stage at the ceremony.
Benzema had a superb 2021/22 season with Real, scoring 44 goals in 46 games in all competitions as he helped guide them to a La Liga and Champions League double.
His 15 goals in the Champions League took his side to a record-extending 14th title.
There was more success for Spanish football with Barcelona captain Alexia Putellas winning the Women’s Ballon d’Or title.
The midfielder, 28, who won the award last year, suffered a ligament injury in the summer and missed Spain’s Euro 2022 campaign.
Before her injury, Putellas was the Champions League top scorer for Barcelona last season with 11 goals in 10 games.
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