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Ballon d'Or 2022: Karim Benzema The Favourite - All You Need To Know

Rule change and a clear favourite. Here's all you need to know about the Ballon d'Or 2022 - Date, time, live streaming, etc.

In the 2021-22 season, he scored 48 goals and made 15 assists; and won the UEFA Champions League, La Liga and Supercopa de Espana with Real Madrid and UEFA Nations League with the France national team.
In the 2021-22 season, he scored 48 goals and made 15 assists; and won the UEFA Champions League, La Liga and Supercopa de Espana with Real Madrid and UEFA Nations League with the France national team. AP Photo

Hours before the announcement of the Ballon d'Or 2022 nominees, Karim Benzema on Wednesday night showed his class again in Real Madrid's record-equalling UEFA Super Cup win against Eintracht Frankfurt at the Olympic Stadium, Helsinki, Finland. (More Football News)

Karim Benzema, 34, scored the second goal in the UEFA Champions League holders' routine victory over the Europa league champions. It was the Frenchman's 324th goal for Real Madrid, thus overtaking club legend, Raul's tally. Now, only Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored 450 goals between 2009-18, has more goals for Los Blancos than Benzema.

Benzema primed for first Ballon d'Or

In the 2021-22 season, he scored 48 goals and made 15 assists; and won the UEFA Champions League, La Liga and Supercopa de Espana with Real Madrid and UEFA Nations League with the France national team.

After the UEFA Super Cup match, Los Blancos boss Carlo Ancelotti hailed Benzema as "very important, our leader," saying that they "are here mostly because of him - he scored many important goals."

"There are no doubts about who should win the Ballon d'Or, it should be Karim." Ancelotti told Movistar. "For us he's the most important and most effective player in the world."

Benzema scored 44 times in 46 games for Real Madrid, including 15 in the Champions League. And 10 of those came in the tournament's knockout stages.

The criteria

So, the "most effective player in the world" usually wins the Ballon d'Or.

"The Ballon d'Or is an individual award. Also, logically, criterion number 1 will focus primarily on individual performance and the decisive and impressive character of the contenders," said France Football magazine, which gives the award.

“Since football remains a collective sport despite everything, criterion number 2 will focus on collective performance and the record accumulated during the season.

"Finally, criterion number 3 will concern the class of the player and his sense of fair play. Because setting an example also counts."

Benzema sure ticked the first two criteria, but his not-so-clean public image may also play part in the voting. He was found guilty in a sex tape extortion scandal. A court ruling said that Benzema was complicit in attempted blackmail against his French teammate Mathieu Valbuena.

Benzema, if indeed he wins the trophy, would become the second-oldest player to win it after Stanley Matthews (England/Blackpool), who won it in 1956 as a 41-year-old. Benzema would also become the first Frenchman to win the award since Zinedine Zidane (1998).

Benzema's best finish in Ballon d"Or was a fourth in 2021, behind Lionel Messi, Robert Lewandowski and Jorginho.

Other contenders

With both Ronaldo and Lionel Messi struggling, and also Robert Lewandoski missing out on the Champions League with Bayern Munich, Benzema looks the hot favourite to win the most important individual award in world football.

Sadio Mane remains the only real contender in the race to Ballon d'Or 2022 title. Senegal forward, who won the Africa Cup of Nations, already has the CAF African Player of the Year award. The 30-year-old, before joining Bayern Munich, helped Liverpool win League Cup and FA Cup. Jurgen Klopp's Reds were also second in English Premier League and Champions League.

Others in contention are Mohamed Salah (Egypt/Liverpool) and Kylian Mbappe (France/Paris Saint-Germain), Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium/Manchester City), Robert Lewandowski (Poland/Bayern Munich) and Vinicius Jr (Brazil/Real Madrid).

For the record, Lionel Messi has already placed his bet on Karim Benzema to win the Ballon d'Or 2022.

"There are no doubts, it's very clear that Benzema had a spectacular year and ended up victorious in the Champions League," Messi said on Argentine television.

"He was fundamental in all the matches from the round of 16 onwards. I think there is no doubt this year."

New Ballon d'Or rules

Starting the 66th edition, the winner of the Ballon d'Or will be given based on performances over a single season, not the calendar year.

And to help materialise this factor, the ceremony is set to take place in the third quarter of the year as compared to the last quarter of the year.

How does the Ballon d'Or voting works?

First, a shortlist of 30 contenders for Ballon d’Or with 20 for Ballon d'Or Feminin will be announced on Friday. After that, 100 journalists from FIFA's top 100 nations will select their top five for the Ballon d'Or. But it will be 50 journalists for the women's award.

So, when is the Ballon d'Or 2022 gala?

The Ballon d'Or 2022 gala will be held on October 17 at Theatre du Chatelet, Paris, some two months earlier than the usual date, and one more prior to the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar.

And how to watch the Ballon d'Or 2022 gala live?

The Ballon d'Or 2022 gala will be streamed live on L'Equipe's official YouTube channel and Eurosport. In India, Star Sports Network usually telecasts the gala live and the streaming on Disney+ Hotstar.

Previous Ballon d'Or winners (top five)

Lionel Messi (7) - 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019;
Cristiano Ronaldo (5) - 2008, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017;
Michel Platini (3) - 1983, 1984, 1985;
Johan Cruyff (3) - 1971, 1973, 1974;
Marco van Basten (3) - 1988, 1989, 1992.

Besides the Ballon d'Or for the best male football player, France Football will pick winners for Ballon d'Or Feminin (best female player), Kopa Trophy (best under-21 player), and Yashin Trophy (best goalkeeper).

Messi won the Men’s 2021 Ballon d’Or, while Alexia Putellas (Spain/Barcelona) won the women’s award.

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