Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema has won the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year award after his stellar 2021/22 season.
Club teammate Thibaut Courtois – who was named man of the match for his heroics in May’s Champions League final win over Liverpool – and Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne were named on the final shortlist. But the gong was awarded to Benzema at the draw for the 2022/23 Champions League group stage in Istanbul on Thursday.
The France international led Los Blancos to their 14th Champions League title, popping up with big goals at vital moments in knockout round ties with PSG, Chelsea and Manchester City when his team needed him most.
Benzema also played a crucial role in Real Madrid’s La Liga title-winning campaign, wrestling the Spanish crown back from rivals Atletico Madrid.
Forming a formidable forward partnership with the once-maligned Vinicius Junior, Benzema scored a whopping 44 goals in 46 games for Real Madrid in all competitions last season.
With UEFA’s top prize now in his possession, his sights will now be set on claiming the Ballon d’Or in October. Benzema is widely expected to become the first Frenchman since Zinedine Zidane to take home the award.