Real Madrid and France forward Karim Benzema has won the Ballon d’Or 2022 award.
Benzema was named the winner of the 2022 Ballon d’Or at the awards night held at the Theatre du Chatelet, Paris, France, on Monday evening local time.
The award was presented directly by Real Madrid Legend and 1998 Ballon d’Or winner Zinedine Zidane.
In his speech after receiving the award, Benzema said that although the Ballon d’Or is an individual award, it is also a collective award for him. He added that the Ballon d’Or he won is for everyone.
Benzema is ahead of Sadio Mane, who is in second place in the vote, while Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne and Barcelona’s Robert Lewandowski are in third and fourth place.
The award was given to the world’s best footballer this year based on performance during the 2021-2022 season. Karim Benzema scored 50 goals and 16 assists from 56 matches at the club and the national level last season. Benzema also successfully won four trophies, namely the Spanish League, Champions League, and Spanish Super Cup with Real Madrid, as well as the UEFA Nations League with the French national team.
With this victory, Karim Benzema became the first Muslim footballer in the last two decades to win the Ballon d’Or after Zinedine Zidane in 1998 and the third Muslim footballer ever to win the prestigious trophy.
A few Muslim footballers have won the Ballon d’Or since the world’s prestigious individual award was first held in 1956.
The first footballer to win the Ballon d’Or was George Weah, a striker from Liberia who has played for big European clubs such as Monaco, Paris Saint-German, Chelsea, and AC Milan.
We won the Ballon d’Or in 1995 while playing for AC Milan. Interestingly, he was a Muslim at the time. In 1999, he decided to return to his old faith and embraced Christianity.
Zinedine Zidane is the second Muslim footballer to win the Ballon d’Or award, particularly in 1998 when the French footballer was defending the Italian club, Juventus. Zidane is known to be a Muslim despite being secretive and reluctant to reveal his personal beliefs to the public.
Karim Benzema is the latest name to add to the list of Muslim footballers who won the prestigious award. He is known as a devout Muslim, which can be seen from several of his Instof diagram posts, which often show the caption ‘Alhamdulillah’ as an expression of gratitude from the player.