By Ezra Tshisa Sibanda
Karim Benzema made history as he was crowned the Ballon d’Or winner for 2022, the first Frenchman to win since Zidane in 1998.
It’s deserved recognition for the 34-year-old after his tremendous form this calendar year. Meanwhile, Bayern Munich’s Sadio Mane first runner up and Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne second runner up came agonisingly close but in the end were pipped by the prolific Frenchman.
For the past 17 years or so, without Messi even kicking a ball at the beginning of the year, he already had a 50% chance of winning the Ballon d’or. In case you didn’t know, CR7 owned the remaining 50% and remains the only living footballer who is (and will be) forever compared to Messi. All this was because both of them played in La Liga which appears to be the award’s favourite league.
I repeat the French based award favours Spanish based players especially from Real Madrid and Barcelona. The 2 players were absent from the 2022 award because they left La Liga to play elsewhere.
The Ballon d’Or has become a popularity contest these days. The integrity of the award alongside many other individual accolades has been called into question in recent years. Frankly, the Ballon d’Or really doesn’t matter anymore.
This is the most prestigious individual accolade in world football, awarded to the male player deemed to have performed to the highest standard over the previous year.
It used to be only journalists who had a say, but from 2007, coaches and national-team captains have been able to vote for their friends and teammates, oh, sorry, the players they think have been the most impressive.
Congratulations to Mane and De Bruyne for being runners up and welll done Benzema.
Congratulations, you finally won it and deservedly so.