Real Madrid football star, Karim Benzema was rewarded for his remarkable success by winning the Ballon d’Or at a star-studded ceremony in Paris on Monday, while Spain’s Alexia Putellas retained the women’s prize.
Benzema, who is the first French winner of the most prestigious individual prize in football since Zinedine Zidane in 1998, scored 44 goals in 46 games for his club last season as Real won the Champions League and La Liga.
Fifteen of his goals came in the Champions League, including hat-tricks in knockout wins against Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea and three more across both legs of a stunning semi-final defeat of Manchester City.
The 34-year-old, who also won the UEFA Nations League with France, succeeds Lionel Messi with the Argentine not nominated this year after claiming the prize for the seventh time in 2021.
He will turn 35 on December 19, the day after the World Cup final.