Karim Benzema has been named Ballon d’Or winner for 2022, with the Real Madrid striker enjoying an incredible calendar year.
The France international enjoyed a remarkable 2021-22 campaign at Santiago Bernabeu, with a stunning 44-goal haul helping Los Blancos to La Liga and Champions League titles.
The 34-year-old found the target on 27 occasions in the Spanish top flight last season and 15 times in European competition.
Benzema has been a revelation for Madrid, helping to fill the void created by Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure in 2018 while also taking on captaincy duties following Sergio Ramos’ move to Paris Saint-Germain.
He has now been recognised as the world’s best by his peers, with competition from the likes of Mohamed Salah, Robert Lewandowski, Sadio Mane, Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland seen off to land the prestigious Golden Ball.
The Ballon d’Or vote has been dominated by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in recent times, with the Argentine claiming a history-making seven awards, while the Portuguese superstar has five to his name.
Other iconic performers to have taken the top prize on multiple occasions include Michel Platini, Johan Cruyff, Marco van Basten, Franz Beckenbauer, Ronaldo and Alfredo Di Stefano. Benzema has become the eighth Real Madrid player to land the award – enhancing their record-setting haul.
The experienced forward has been back among the goals this season, as Real seek to defend their domestic and continental crowns, while he will also be hoping to help France savour World Cup glory again at the 2022 finals in Qatar.