Karim Benzema wins well-deserved Ballon D’Or

There is no doubt about it. 

Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema capped off an incredible season with the Ballon d’Or for the ages, with the French talisman adjudged as the best player in the world. 

Just a day after their thrilling win in El Clasico, The striker accepted the award from his former boss Zinedine Zidane, who was the last French winner 24 years ago, in the ceremony in Paris.

It was the fifth time that a French footballer to get the ultimate honor, after Zidane, Michel Platini, Jean-Pierre Papin and Raymond Kopa.

Benzema beat out the Premier League duo of Liverpool’s Sadio Mane and Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne, among others for the top prize.


Benefited from massive changes 

What made Benzema’s win deserved than during the duopoly of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo was the changed made by France Football in March. 

For the very first time in the history of the awards, the main criteria have changed from the calendar year to the European football season, putting emphasis on performance for both the individual and their respective clubs. 

The calendar year criteria have been a subject of criticisms in the time of the Messi-Ronaldo rivalry, where they have scooped all but one of the Ballon d’Ors since 2008 before Benzema’s win. It was even highlighted in their cancellation of the awards in 2020, robbing Robert Lewandowski of the highest honor while the Pole racking up the goals for Bayern Munich who eventually won the treble in pandemic-hit campaign. 

Benzema’s on fire

karim benzema

With those changes to the criteria, Benzema embarked on a campaign like any other. 

In La Liga, he went on a tear for his maiden Pichichi, scoring 27 in his 32 appearances and assisted 12 times where Los Blancos clinched their 35th Spanish title. For a good measure, he went on to score twice when they won the Supercopa in Saudi Arabia.


But it was in Europe where he shone the most. He was the leading scorer in their successful Champions League campaign, firing in 15 goals as they claimed their 14th European Cup with one of the most exciting runs to the title. 

He found the net in every knockout tie save for the final, as he duly took the goals that knocked out favorites such as Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Manchester City in that order.

Overall, he had 44 goals and 15 assists for Los Blancos. Apart from that, he won his first major international honor with France in 2021, as he struck twice in their Nations League triumph in Italy.