The Real Madrid striker picked up the trophy in Paris on Monday, but where did the rest of the 30 nominees place on the final list?
It’s been the worst kept secret in football for months, but finally it’s official – Karim Benzema is the 2022 Ballon d’Or winner. The Real Madrid striker picked up the Golden Ball at the annual ceremony in Paris following his superb 2021-22 season for both club and country.
Benzema’s was rewarded for the lead role he played in Madrid winning both the Champions League and La Liga, while he also lifted the Nations League trophy with France back in October 2021.
Benzema, though, was just one of 30 nominees for the most prestigious individual award in world football, and France Football has revealed the final standings of where all 30 ranked after the final voting.
Neither six-time winner Lionel Messi or his Paris Saint-Germain team-mate Neymar made the cut, but it is still a list packed with some of the biggest and best players in the global game.
=25. Antonio Rudiger – Real Madrid
Rudiger went from being out in the cold at Chelsea under Frank Lampard to one of the best centre-backs in world football under Thomas Tuchel, and impressed enough to earn a summer move to Real Madrid.
=25. Joao Cancelo – Manchester City
An underwhelming signing as a right-back in 2019, Cancelo has developed into one of the best left-backs in the world, with his ability to drift inside and provide goals and assists that most midfielders would be proud of almost unmatched.
=25. Christopher Nkunku – RB Leipzig
Nkunku beat off competition from Robert Lewandowski to win the Bundesliga Player of the Season award after a goal-laden campaign for Leipzig that was topped off by winning the DFB-Pokal in May.
=25. Joshua Kimmich – Bayern Munich
Kimmich continues to be one of the most underrated footballers in the world as he played a key role in Bayern claiming a 10th successive Bundesliga title.
=25. Darwin Nunez – Liverpool
With 34 goals in all competitions, Nunez announced himself to the world over the course of what proved to be his final season at Benfica, as his form earned the striker a big-money summer move to Liverpool.
=25. Mike Maignan – AC Milan
Gianluigi Donnarumma’s gloves looked like they would be tough to fill at AC Milan, but Maignan proved to be a superb signing by the Rossoneri as he claimed his second league title in as many years, having previously won Ligue 1 with Lille in 2021.
=22. Phil Foden – Manchester City
Despite having won four league titles before his 22nd birthday, it still feels like fans outside of England do not appreciate just how good Foden truly is, with the City star a potential Ballon d’Or winner of the future.
=22. Bernardo Silva – Manchester City
Bernardo Silva went from being on the cusp of leaving Man City to their most consistent performer within the space of a few weeks as they won yet another Premier League title.
=22. Trent Alexander-Arnold – Liverpool
With over 20 assists for club and country over the course of the 2021-22 campaign, Alexander-Arnold continued to push the limits of what a full-back is capable off from an attacking perspective.
21. Harry Kane – Tottenham
After a slow start to the season, Kane exploded during the second half of the campaign, with his play-making ability almost more important to Tottenham than his goalscoring.
20. Cristiano Ronaldo – Manchester United
Though United’s overall season was one to forget, Ronaldo did manage 24 goals in all competitions while also becoming the all-time top scorer in men’s international football in the early weeks of the campaign.
=17. Casemiro – Manchester United
Under the radar, Casemiro was yet again a key cog in the Real Madrid machine as they won a domestic-European double in what proved to be his last season at Santiago Bernabeu.
=17. Luis Diaz – Liverpool
Diaz may have only arrived at Liverpool in January from Porto, but he proved to be a true game-changer for the Reds, coming up with huge goals and assists during their quest for an unprecedented quadruple.
=17. Dusan Vlahovic – Juventus
Vlahovic was almost unstoppable for Fiorentina during the first half of the season, and though he could not always replicate that form for Juventus after his big-money January move, he showed enough signs to suggest he can become the Bianconeri’s next superstar striker.
16. Virgil van Dijk – Liverpool
Back from injury and back to his imperious best, Van Dijk cemented his status as world football’s premier centre-back over the course of Liverpool’s memorable campaign.
=14. Fabinho – Liverpool
A calming presence at the heart of Liverpool’s midfield, he also popped up with the odd important goal, including in the Champions League semi-final against Villarreal.
=14. Rafael Leao – AC Milan
Named Serie A MVP of the Season after firing AC Milan to their first Scudetto in 11 years, Leao earned comparisons to Thierry Henry in the Italian press.
13. Sebastien Haller – Borussia Dortmund
Haller was a surprise revelation of the 2021-22 season as he broke countless goal-scoring records in the Champions League while firing Ajax to the Eredivisie title before sealing a summer move to Dortmund.
12. Riyad Mahrez – Manchester City
City’s top scorer in all competitions in 2021-22, Mahrez shrugged of Africa Cup of Nations embarrassment with Algeria to play a key role for Pep Guardiola’s side down the stretch.
11. Son Heung-min – Tottenham
The joint-top scorer in the 2021-22 Premier League season, Son took his game to new heights to help Spurs clinch a return to the Champions League under Antonio Conte.
10. Erling Haaland – Manchester City
Though injuries interrupted Haaland’s final season at Borussia Dortmund, he still managed almost a goal-a-game record in the Bundesliga before joining Man City over the summer.
9. Luka Modric – Real Madrid
The 2018 Ballon d’Or winner rolled back the years last season, putting in a series of virtuoso performances at the age of 36 as Madrid triumphed domestically and on the continent.
8. Vinicius Junior – Real Madrid
In a breakout season packed with goals and assists, Vinicius saved the most important for last as he netted the only goal in the Champions League final.
7. Thibaut Courtois – Real Madrid
Courtois crowned a superb season with a Man-of-the-Match-winning display in the Champions League final, and picked up the Yachine Trophy during Monday’s ceremony as the world’s best goalkeeper.
6. Kylian Mbappe – Paris Saint-Germain
The only member of PSG’s much-heralded front three to make the shortlist, Mbappe stepped up where Lionel Messi and Neymar struggled as he claimed trophies at both club and international level in 2021-22.
5. Mohamed Salah – Liverpool
Arguably the best player in the world through the first half of last season, Salah remained key for Liverpool during the run-in despite suffering disappointment on the international stage for Egypt.
4. Robert Lewandowski – Barcelona
Lewandowski enjoyed another 50-goal season in what proved to be his final campaign at Bayern Munich, but that still wasn’t enough for him to claim his first Ballon d’Or.
3. Kevin De Bruyne – Manchester City
De Bruyne bubbled along nicely through the first half of the season before exploding during the run in as he scored a number of crucial goals in both the Premier League and Champions League for City.
2. Sadio Mane – Bayern Munich
Mane’s final season at Liverpool started slowly but he was back to his best after guiding Senegal to Africa Cup of Nations glory in January as he provided plenty of memorable moments for Reds supporters.
1. Karim Benzema – Real Madrid
A truly remarkable season from Benzema, who netted over 40 goals for club and country while providing a series of assists as he picked up winners’ medals in the Champions League, La Liga and UEFA Nations League.