For both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, an era is coming to an end. Neither player placed in the top three of the Ballon d’Or standings for the first time in 16 years. The award given to the best male soccer player of the year is called the Ballon d’Or. Morning Brew is read by more than 3 million people; you should too! Thank you for registering! Since Karim Benzema of Real Madrid won this year’s Ballon d’Or, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi didn’t place in the top three in the rankings for the first time in 16 years.
The two superstars have dominated the most prestigious individual award in international soccer since 2005. It is given to the best men’s soccer player of the year and is decided by a vote of 100 journalists from across the world. The two have each taken home the award 12 times.
But at the awards ceremony on Monday in Paris, Messi, who had just won his eighth prize, failed to make the shortlist for the first time since 2005, and Ronaldo placed 20th, his lowest result in 17 years.
With his victory, Benzema became just the second player since 2008—after Real Madrid’s Luka Modric—to receive the honor without Ronaldo or Messi.
Benzema, who scored 44 goals in 46 games to help Real Madrid win the Champions League and La Liga during the 2021–2022 season, remarked, “This prize in front of me makes me incredibly proud.”
It was a boyhood ambition of mine when I was younger, and I never gave up. Everything is conceivable.
—Karim Benzema, October 18, 2022 (@Benzema) Sadio Mane of Bayern Munich, who played for Liverpool from 2021 to 2022, came in second place, ahead of Kevin de Bruyne of Manchester City, who came in third.
The Women’s Ballon d’Or was held by Alexia Putellas of FC Barcelona, and Barcelona and Spain midfielder Gavi earned the Kopa Trophy, which is given to the best player under the age of 21.
Once she had her prize in hand, Putellas exclaimed, “I’m so glad to be back here.” “I was able to earn this reward a year ago, and it inspired me to strive for greater success.
“I couldn’t have done this without my teammates.” I also want to thank the coach and the technical team. And to thank everyone at the club who is involved off the field.