Karim Benzema has been rewarded for his career-best 2021-22 season with his first Ballon d’Or in a ceremony at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris-the 66th edition.
Real Madrid captain Benzema was a strong favourite for the top award on Monday after inspiring the Spanish giants to a LaLiga and Champions League double last term.
Ahead of a November-December World Cup, a change in the format saw the Ballon d’Or awarded based on performances over a regular season rather than the calendar year for the first time.
France international Benzema would have been a leading candidate in either case, but he was the clear winner after scoring 44 goals in 46 matches and earning a fifth European crown in the 2021-22 campaign.
Benzema had been nominated for the Ballon d’Or on 10 previous occasions but only cracked the top 10 for the first time in 2021, finishing fourth as Lionel Messi – not nominated this year – claimed a seventh award.
— Ferdinand A Baah