Reactions as Benzema wins his first Ballon d’or

After much expectation following his outstanding 2021–2022 season, Karim Benzema has been named the Ballon d’Or winner.

The 34-year-old had a legendary season for both club and country, captaining Real Madrid’s attack in a ruthlessly productive manner as they won their 14th Champions League trophy and another La Liga championship.

After Benzema was announced as the winner, congratulations poured in. He defeated Sadio Mane, who finished in second place, Kevin De Bruyne, who finished in third place, and other notable players like Robert Lewandowski, Kylian Mbappe, and even Cristiano Ronaldo to win the coveted award for the first time in his career.

After a season in which he scored 44 goals and added 15 assists in 46 games for Los Merengues, he became the first French player to win the award since Zinedine Zidane did it in 1998, and only the sixth Frenchman overall.

Benzema was welcomed onto the Paris stage in front of former winners by Zidane, who gave him the award. The 1998 winner and Ronaldo were both praised by Benzema as sources of inspiration.

At the awards, former Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho paid tribute to Benzema in a pre-recorded video: “Karim is a great character, he’s a great personality.

“He is a team guy. He’s not the guy obsessed with himself. He’s not the guy obsessed with [the] Ballon d’Or. He’s not the guy obsessed with scoring more goals than A, B, or C. He’s just a team man, that developed in a way where the Ballon d’Or becomes a natural consequence [of his abilities].”

Patrice Evra posted on Twitter to send Benzema a message: “Easy bro soo much love and soo proud”.

Sami Khedira, former Real teammate, also applauded Benzema on Twitter. He posted a photo of himself, Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Luka Modric captioned: “Not only one, not only two – now three Ballon d‘Or winners on that picture! Couldn‘t be prouder! After many years of patience you finally got what you‘ve been working for so hard, my friend. Congrats”.

Eduardo Camavinga, current teammate for club and country, tweeted: “People’s Ballon d’Or” while tagging Benzema.

Raphael Varane congratulated his former teammate on Instagram and wrote in the caption of a picture of the two of them:  “Congratulations my brother! You earned it. What a player!!”

Carlo Ancelotti, the current Real manager, honored his forward by congratulating both Karim Benzema and Thibaut Courtois on winning the Yashin Trophy on his official Twitter account: “It is an honor to train the best goalkeeper in the world and the Ballon d’Or. Congratulations to my friends Thibaut and Karim.”

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