Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema lifted his first Ballon d’Or trophy in a ceremony in Paris. The French striker saw off Sadio Mane, Kevin De Bruyne and Robert Lewandowski to win the 2022 men’s Ballon d’Or.
Karim Benzema lifts his first Ballon d’Or trophy in Paris (AP)
By India Today Web Desk: Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema lifted his first Ballon d’Or trophy in a ceremony in Paris. The French striker saw off Sadio Mane, Kevin De Bruyne and Robert Lewandowski to win the 2022 men’s Ballon d’Or.
The French striker scored 44 goals in 46 matches last season to help Real Madrid win the UEFA Champions League and La Liga. 1998 Ballon d’Or winner Zinedine Zidane presented the trophy to Benzema, who became the oldest player since Stanley Matthews in 1956 to win the prestigious award.
Speaking at the event, the 34-year-old said age is just a number for him and he still has a burning desire to play at the highest level.
“Age is just a number for me. People play until their later years now and I still have this burning desire. It is this drive that has kept me going and never allowed me to let up,” said Benzema.
The Frenchman went on to say that he never gave up on his dream and was honored to be among his childhood heroes, Zidane and Ronaldo, at the event.
“It makes me really proud. All the work I did, I never gave up. It was a childhood dream, like all kids – the motivation. I had two motivations in my life – Zidane and Ronaldo. I’ve always had this dream in my mind that anything is possible,” Benzema added.
Meanwhile, Barcelona midfielder Alexia Putellas won the women’s Ballon d’Or for a second straight year, becoming the first women’s player to achieve the feat.
In other awards, Barcelona’s 18-year-old midfielder Gavi was awarded the Kopa trophy, given to the best under-21 player from last season. The Lev Yashin award for best goalkeeper went to Real Madrid’s Thibaut Courtois. Barcelona striker Robert Lewandowski walked away with the Gerd Muller best striker award, while Manchester City was adjudged the best club from last season.