Real Madrid and France’s Karim Benzema bookended a stellar individual year by winning the Ballon d’Or to be crowned the best player in the world while Barcelona and Spain’s Alexia Putells retained her women’s title when the winners were announced in France.

The Frenchman was pivotal to Real Madrid’s success in the Champions League and La Liga campaigns. He found the net 44 times in 46 games in all competitions helping with his 15 goals in the Champions League guided Real to a record-extending 14th title.

He beat out Bayern Munich’s Sadio Mane and Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne who finished second and third respectively.

Karim Benzema is the fifth Ballon d’Or winner from France and the first since Zinedine Zidane won the award in 1998. He was also named the UEFA Player of the Year earlier this year.

Meanwhile, Barcelona’s Alexia Putellas won the Women’s crown for a second straight year beating out England’s European Championship winner Beth Mead and Australia’s Sam Kerr.

Putellas, who was also named FIFA Best Women’s Player earlier this year, finished as the top scorer in the Champions League last season with 11 goals and scored 18 in the Primera Division.

Her 34 goals for Barcelona last season helped the club win all the domestic trophies, go unbeaten in the league and reach the Champions League final.

Real’s Thibaut Courtois won the Lev Yashin award for the best goalkeeper with Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City being crowned the “Best Club” after winning a fourth Premier League title in five years.

Barca’s 18-year-old midfielder Gavi picked up the Kopa Trophy for the best under-21 player, while Bayern Munich forward Sadio Mane won the inaugural Socrates award, for his humanitarian efforts.

Lewandowski, who missed out on a Ballon d’Or in 2020, picked up the Gerd Muller Trophy for the best striker after scoring 50 goals in all competitions for Bayern last season.

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