Karim Benzema, a French forward for Real Madrid, was named the greatest male player in the world for 2022 on Monday.
Benzema is the first French player to win the cup since Zinedine Zidane in 1998 and the sixth overall after Raymond Kopa, Michel Platini, and Jean-Pierre Papin. He was instrumental in Real’s journey to the Champions League victory last season.
Benzema said on stage at the presentation, “This award in front of me makes me incredibly proud. When I was small, it was a boyhood goal, I never gave up… Anything is possible.”
“I’m incredibly pleased of my trip here. It wasn’t simple, it was a terrible time for my family as well. There was a rough moment when I wasn’t on the French squad, but I never lost up,” the athlete said.
Benzema won the trophy after Argentina’s Lionel Messi won it for a record-breaking seventh time in 2017 by defeating Robert Lewandowski of Poland, Sadio Mane of Senegal, and Kevin De Bruyne of Belgium.
With 44 goals in 46 appearances across all competitions, Benzema had an outstanding season with Real, helping them win the LaLiga and Champions League double. He scored 15 goals in the Champions League, helping Real win a record-breaking 14th championship.
Real staged incredible comebacks from deficits against Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea, and Manchester City in the round of 16, quarterfinals, and semifinals, respectively. Benzema scored in each of those second legs.
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