Real Madrid and France forward Karim Benzema has won the Ballon d’Or – given to the best footballer of the year – for the first time.
Benzema scored 44 goals in 46 games as he helped Real win the Champions League and Liga in 2021-22.
Lionel Messi (seven) and Cristiano Ronaldo (five) won the award on 12 of the previous 13 occasions.
Alexia Putellas from Barcelona She retained the Women’s Ballon d’Or, Awarded to the best female soccer player of 2022.
England’s Euro 2022 winner and Arsenal striker Beth Mead was second.
Premier League champions Manchester City, who had six nominees at the event, were named Club of the Year ahead of Liverpool.
The Ballon d’Or is awarded to the best footballer of the year, based on their performance in the 2021-22 season.
The first Frenchman to win the prize since 1998
At Monday’s event in Paris, French F1 driver Esteban Ocon arrived at the Theater du Chatelet with the Ballon d’Or trophy in a racing car.
Benzema is the first Frenchman to win the prestigious award since Zinedine Zidane in 1998. Zidane was at the ceremony to present the award to his compatriot.
Benzema was the absolute favorite to win this year’s award.
His 44 goals included a winner in 17 minutes of the second half against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League, and another against Chelsea in the first leg of the quarter-finals.
He also scored three more goals in the two legs of the semi-final against Manchester City.
The 34-year-old, who has been with Real Madrid since 2009, will play a key role for France at the World Cup in Qatar, which starts on November 20.
The Ballon d’Or is voted for by 100 journalists from around the world.
Ballon d’Or results
1. Karim Benzema (Real Madrid, France).
2. Sadio Mane (Bayern Munich, Senegal).
3. Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City, Belgium).
4. Robert Lewandowski (Barcelona, Poland).
5. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool, Egypt).
6. Kylian Mbappe (Paris St-Germain, France).
7. Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid, Belgium).
8. Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid, Brazil).
9. Luka Modric (Real Madrid, Croatia).
10. Erling Haaland (Manchester City, Norway).
11. Son Heung-min (Tottenham Hotspur, South Korea)
12. Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City, Algeria).
13. Sebastien Haller (Borussia Dortmund, Ivory Coast).
14. Fabinho (Liverpool, Brazil) tied with Rafael Leao (AC Milan, Portugal).
16. Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool, Netherlands).
17. Luis Diaz (Liverpool, Colombia) has tied Dusan Vlahovic (Juventus, Serbia) and Casemiro (Manchester United, Brazil).
20. Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United, Portugal).
21. Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur, England).
22. Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool, England) tied with Phil Foden (Manchester City, England) and Bernardo Silva (Manchester City, Portugal).
25. Joao Cancelo (Manchester City, Portugal) Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich, Germany), Mike Maignan (AC Milan, France), Antonio Rudiger (Real Madrid, Germany), Darwin Nunez (Liverpool, Uruguay) and Christopher Nkunku (Liverpool, Uruguay) tied with the teams. RB Leipzig, France).