French striker, Karim Benzema has won the 2021/22 Ballon d’Or at the Théâtre du Châtelet in France after driving Real Madrid on to a record 14th European title, and his fifth since he joined from Lyon in 2009. His final tally of 15 goals – including a joint-record ten in the knockout stages – earned him top spot in the Champipns League scoring charts, with 27 in the Spanish Liga also a domestic best.
The Real Madrid striker also became the first Frenchman to claim the award since Zinedine Zidane did in 1998
The evergreen 34-year-old started the campaign by helping France to UEFA Nations League glory and never looked back, consecutive hat-tricks in the Champions League knockout stages against Paris and Chelsea the highlights of a goal and trophy-filled season.
Benzema beat off competetions from Barcelona’s Lewandowski, Sadio Mane of Bayern Munich and others to win the award.
2021/22 in numbers
UEFA Champions League winner, UEFA Champions League Player of the Season, UEFA Nations League winner, Spanish Liga winner, Spanish Super Cup winner
UEFA Champions League
Player of the Match awards: 4
Top three performances
Real Madrid 3-1 Paris
Two down on aggregate in the last 16 with half an hour remaining, Carlo Ancelotti’s men were heading out of the Champions League with a whimper. Step forward Benzema, who forced an error from Gianluigi Donnarumma to give his side hope before completing his hat-trick within 17 minutes to seal a sensational turnaround.
Chelsea 1-3 Real Madrid
Benzema carried on that form in the quarter-final first leg, this hat-trick taking a more modest 25 minutes to compile. Two terrific headers in a three-minute purple patch left the holders reeling and the treble duly arrived seconds after half-time as he pressed the hosts into submission.
Spain 1-2 France
Having kick-started Les Bleus’ remarkable comeback against Belgium in their Nations League semi-final, he repeated the feat in the showpiece. Two minutes after falling behind, France levelled thanks to Benzema’s stunning 66th-minute curling strike before going on to lift the trophy.