Benzema wins his first Ballon d’Or After an incredible 44-goal season.
Real Madrid striker, Karim Benzema wins the Ballon d’Or award on Monday at a ceremony in Paris. His remarkable performances help Real Madrid win the Champions League and La Liga last season.
Since Zinedine Zidane won the award in 1998, Benzema has become the first Frenchman to receive it. He scored 44 goals in 46 matches for his team, including 15 in the Champions League.
Sadio Mane of Senegal’s national team and Bayern Munich fell to second position behind Benzema, who also helped France win the UEFA Nations League last year.
Third place went to Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne of Belgium, and fourth place went to Robert Lewandowski of Poland and Barcelona.
Winning the award, which is given out by France Football magazine, caps a remarkable career revival for Benzema, who was frozen out of the France team for five and a half years because of his involvement in a blackmail scandal over a sex tape involving teammate Mathieu Valbuena.
Later, he was punished for his involvement in the scandal with a one-year suspended prison sentence and a 75,000 euro ($73,848) fine.
He did, however, re-join the national team for the European Championship last year, and he will now represent France at the World Cup in Qatar next month.
The day following the World Cup final, on December 19, he will be 35.
Since the inaugural winner, Stanley Matthews in 1956, Benzema is the Ballon d’Or’s oldest winner.
Raymond Kopa, Michel Platini, and Jean-Pierre Papin all held the cup before Zinedine Zidane’s triumph in 1998, making the former Lyon striker the sixth Frenchman to take home the honor.