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Golden Ball – Karim Benzema was named World Footballer of the Year on Monday for the first time in his career. At the prestigious Golden Ball election in Paris, the striker settled after a top season at Real Madrid with Sadio Mané (second) and Kevin De Bruyne (third). In the women’s race, Spain’s Alexia Putellas won again.

Golden Ball

Benzema had a great season at Real Madrid. He led ‘De Koninklijke’ with 27 league goals to the national title and with fifteen goals had a golden share in the fourteenth final victory of the club in the Champions League.

In recent years, Benzema, despite his good performances, rarely came close to the Golden Ball election. Last year he finished fourth behind winner Lionel Messi, his best final ranking at the gala in Paris. At the age of 34, it is still hit for the Frenchman, who received the prize from icon and former winner Zinedine Zidane.

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In recent history, the Golden Ball almost always went to record holder Messi (seven times)



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Cristiano Ronaldo (five times). Luka Modric broke the hegemony of the two football legends in 2018 after becoming vice world champion with Croatia.

Last year there was a lot of criticism of the Golden Ball, because not Robert Lewandowski but Messi with the prize. The French weekly France Football, which organizes the election, then decided to change the rules. For example, from now on the prize will be awarded on the basis of the performance over a season and not over a calendar year.

Benzema wins long-awaited Golden Ball

This year, for the first time since 2006, the top three did not consist of Ronaldo or Messi. A year after his election, Messi was not even among the thirty nominees after his disappointing debut season at Paris Saint-Germain. Ronaldo finished twentieth. Virgil van Dijk, the only nominated Dutchman, was sixteenth. Marco van Basten was the last Dutch winner in 1992.


Results Golden Ball election

  • 1. Karim Benzema (Real Madrid/France)
  • 2. Sadio Mané (Liverpool/Senegal)
  • 3. Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City/Belgium
  • 4. Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich, FC Barcelona/Poland)
  • 5. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool/Egypt)
  • 6. Kylian Mbappé (Paris Saint-Germain/France)
  • 7. Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid/Belgium)
  • 8. Vinícius Júnior (Real Madrid/Brazil)
  • 9. Luka Modric (Real Madrid/Croatia)
  • 10. Erling Haaland (Manchester City, Dortmund/Norway)
  • 11. Son Heung-min (Tottenham Hotspur/South Korea)
  • 12. Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City/Algeria)
  • 13. Sébastien Haller (Ajax, Borussia Dortmund/Ivory Coast)
  • 14. Rafael Leão (AC Milan/Portugal)
  • 14. Fabinho (Liverpool/Brazil)
  • 16. Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool/Netherlands)
  • 17. Dusan Vlahovic (Fiorentina, Juventus/Serbia)
  • 17. Casemiro (Real Madrid, Manchester United/Brazil)
  • 17. Luis Díaz (FC Porto, Liverpool/Colombia)
  • 20. Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United, Portugal)
  • 21. Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur/England)
  • 22. Bernardo Silva (Manchester City/Portugal)
  • 22. Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool/England)
  • 22. Phil Foden (Manchester City/England)
  • 25. Darwin Núñez (Benfica, Liverpool/Uruguay)
  • 25. Christopher Nkunku (RB Leipzig/France)
  • 25. Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich/Germany)
  • 25. Antonio Rüdiger (Chelsea, Real Madrid/Germany)
  • 25. Mike Maignan (AC Milan/France)
  • 25. João Cancelo (Manchester City/Portugal)
FC Barcelona books narrow victory in top match against Sevilla and climbs to second place
Benzema wins long-awaited Golden Ball

Putella’s surprising women’s winner

In the women’s race, Putellas was the surprising winner. The Spanish of FC Barcelona had a good season at FC Barcelona, but was missing at the European Championships in England because she suffered a serious knee injury at the last minute. Beth Mead, the big star at European champion England, was remarkably second.

For Putellas, it was the second time in a row that she was voted World Football Player of the Year. The 28-year-old midfielder led FC Barcelona with eighteen goals to the national title, but could not help the club to the Champions League despite eleven goals. The final against Olympique Lyonnais was lost 1-3. Putellas scored FC Barcelona’s only goal.

Vivianne Miedema finished in eleventh place. The only Dutch candidate experienced a disappointing European Championship with the Netherlands, after which the Orange was eliminated by France in the quarter-finals. The Arsenal striker also missed two group games due to a corona infection.

The prize for the greatest talent in the men’s category also went to FC Barcelona. Gavi was chosen over Ryan Gravenberch (sixth) and succeeded his teammate Pedri. Eighteen-year-old Gavi broke through last season with the current number two in Spain.

Real also won the award for best goalkeeper. Thibaut Courtois was named best goalkeeper, partly due to his starring role in the Champions League final against Liverpool (0-1). Last year, the Italian Gianluigi Donnarumma was elected.



Benzema is “incredible”! #Benzema

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