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Anything is Possible - Ballon d’Or Winner, Benzema

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Tuesday, 18 October 2022 11:03

By Additional Reporting from NAN

First-time Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema says anything is possible if one never gives up on his dreams.

“This prize in front of me makes me really proud. When I was small, it was a childhood dream, I never gave up… Anything is possible,” Benzema said on stage after receiving the Ballon d’Or trophy made of brass plates bathed in gold.

“There was a difficult period when I wasn’t in the French team but I never gave up. I’m really proud of my journey here.

“It wasn’t easy, it was a difficult time for my family as well.”

The Real Madrid and France forward won the 2022 Ballon d’Or award for the best men’s player in the world on Monday, beating Poland’s Robert Lewandowski, Sadio Mane of Senegal, and Belgium’s Kevin De Bruyne.

Benzema had a stellar season with Real, scoring 44 goals in 46 games in all competitions as he helped guide them to a LaLiga and Champions League double.

Karim Benzema cropped

He played a pivotal role in the club’s run to the Champions League title, scoring 15 goals in the competition.

His doggedness was instrumental to Real Madrid’s remarkable comebacks from losing positions in the last 16, quarter-finals and semi-finals of the Champions League against Paris St Germain, Chelsea, and Manchester City respectively.

Benzema scored in each of the second-leg encounters.

He is the first French player to win the trophy since Zinedine Zidane in 1998 and the fifth after Raymond Kopa, Michel Platini, and Jean-Pierre Papin.

Spanish international and FC Barcelona’s midfielder Alexia Putellas won the women’s Ballon d’Or for a second straight year, beating England’s European Championship winner Beth Mead and Australia’s Sam Kerr.

Alexia Putellas cropped

Putellas was also named FIFA Best Women’s Player earlier this year, was the top scorer in the Champions League last season with 11 goals, and scored 18 in the Primera Division.

The 28-year-old missed the Euros for Spain, however, after suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury on the eve of the tournament in England.

Real Madrid’s Thibaut Courtois won the Lev Yashin award for the best goalkeeper last season, and English Premier League title holders, Manchester City won the Best Club award.

FC Barcelona’s 18-year-old midfielder Gavi picked up the Kopa Trophy for the best under-21 player, while Bayern Munich forward Sadio Mane won the inaugural Socrates Award for his humanitarian works.

The Senegal international built a public hospital and funded schools and families in his home village of Bambali in 2021, and also donated to the Senegalese National Committee to help fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

He is the reigning African Player of the Year.

Lewandowski did not go home empty-handed as he picked up the Gerd Muller Trophy for the best striker after scoring 50 goals in all competitions for Bayern last season.


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