Benzema and Putellas win Ballon d’Or 2022: Who picked the winners?

Real Madrid's French forward Karim Benzema (left) and Barcelona's Spanish midfielder Alexia Putellas (right) receive the Ballon d'Or award during the 2022 Ballon d'Or France Football award ceremony at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris on Monday, October 17, 2022. Photo: AFP
Real Madrid’s France forward Karim Benzema won the 2022 Ballon d’Or award for the best men’s player in the world on Monday, while Barcelona’s Spain midfielder Alexia Putellas won the women’s award for a second time.

Benzema, who played a pivotal role in Real’s run to the Champions League title last season, 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.

“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 at the ceremony.

“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.”

Benzema beat Poland’s Robert Lewandowski, Sadio Mane of Senegal and Belgium’s Kevin De Bruyne after Argentina’s Lionel Messi won the award for a record seventh time last year, Reuters said.

The highlight of their European campaign was the 3-1 win in the second leg against PSG when the Spanish club were 2-0 down on aggregate, with Benzema grabbing a 17-minute hat-trick in the second half to stun the Ligue 1 side.

On Monday evening that the winners emerged, we watched on as the world of global football showed its more glitzy side. The sight of sweaty athletes showing their prowess on a muddy field was swapped for a red carpet filled with those same individuals wearing expensive suits, glamorous dresses and big smiles. And the supporting cast of families, friends, club officials and sporting executives took their own places as we gathered for the crowning of the best players in the world. Benzema and Putellas displaying their awards. Photo: MURAD SEZER/REUTERS

Ballon d’Or: Who picked the winners?

Whether you put much weight in the individual award chosen or not — for the record, I don’t — there is certainly a prestige involved for those that get to vote in the Ballon d’Or prizes. We have seen in years gone by that much attention is put on who votes for whom, and often patterns can be seen where certain biases may be in play, sometimes some very left-field choices suggesting that only a limited amount of football has actually been watched. Just ask the Mexicans.

Fans will always have their own favourites and will find ways to doubt the integrity or intelligence of those voting a different way, especially if choosing a rival player.

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This year there were a number of changes to the process, most notably, the jury of journalists was instructed to take into account players’ performances in the 2021/22 season, rather than the 2022 calendar year. What’s more, the number of jurors was significantly reduced, and the criteria they were to consider no longer includes a candidate’s achievements throughout their entire career.

So, to the 2022 Ballon d’Or voting. Who were behind the crowning glories of Karim Benzema, Alexia Putellas, Gavi, Thibaut Courtois, and Manchester City, and all those that came in behind them?

Well, the truth is that we don’t yet know. Here at AS, as you’ll no doubt be aware, we have been across everything to do with the awards for many a year, and normally bring you the voting records within hours of the event.