Alexia Putellas and Karim Benzema have been named the winners of the Ballon d’Or 2022 at the annual football awards ceremony in Paris.
Putellas retains her title as the world’s best women’s player after leading Barcelona to another Spanish title, scoring 18 goals. Barça won all 30 league matches and also won the Spanish Cup and the Super Cup, but lost the Champions League final for women to Lyon and missed the European Championship after an ACL injury.
“I’m very happy to be back here,” Putellas said. “By winning last year, I wanted to get even better. This would not have been possible without my teammates. I want to thank the coaches and technical staff who help me to get better every day.”
Benzema has won the men’s award for the first time after guiding Real Madrid to the Spanish title and their 14th European Cup. The 34-year-old scored 27 goals in La Liga and was also the top scorer in the Champions League with 15. Ten of those goals came in the knockout stage, including hat-tricks against Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea. He is the first French winner of the award since Zinedine Zidane in 1998.
After a huge ovation from the audience, Benzema said: “This award for me makes me really proud. I never gave up, it was a childhood dream. There was a difficult period when I wasn’t in the French team, but I kept working hard. I kept this joy of playing football in my head; I am really proud of my journey here.”
France’s President Emmanuel Macron tweeted “KB9!” with a French flag after the result. Macron then posted a second tweet that read: “Two letters and a number that will go down in football history. Twenty-four years after Zidane, Karim Benzema brings a new Ballon d’Or to France. Congratulations to him!”
Beth Mead finished second in the women’s vote after helping England to victory at Euro 2022. The Arsenal forward scored six goals and added five assists to win the tournament’s golden boot and best player awards.
Australian and Chelsea striker Sam Kerr came in third, ahead of German and Wolfsburg midfielder Lena Oberdorf. Putellas’ Spain and Barça teammate Aitana Bonmatí completed the top five.
Sadio Mane, who left Liverpool for Bayern Munich this summer, came second in the men’s category and won the Socrates Prize for his charity work in Senegal. Manchester City playmaker Kevin De Bruyne finished third, his highest placing to date ahead of Robert Lewandowski and Mohamed Salah.
Lewandowski, who came to Barcelona from Bayern Munich this summer, finished fourth in the men’s rankings and also won the Gerd Müller trophy for the world’s best striker. “I want to thank my team-mates from both Bayern and Barca because I know how hard we have to work to score the goals,” he said.
Salah finished fifth, with PSG forward Kylian Mbappe sixth. Thibaut Courtois won the Lev Yashin trophy for the world’s best goalkeeper and finished seventh overall, with his Real Madrid teammates Vinícius Júnior and Luka Modric in eighth and ninth place. Erling Haaland (10th) finished in the top 10 for the first time.
Spanish and Barcelona midfielder Gavi won the Kopa trophy for best men under 21 after the success of his team-mate Pedri last season. Manchester City were named Club of the Year after Pep Guardiola’s side won their fourth Premier League title in five seasons.
Changes in the format of the awards, which are organized by France Football magazine, meant that for the first time performance was assessed over the 2021-22 season rather than the calendar year. The men’s jury was also reduced from 170 to 100, with 50 jurors for the women’s award.