Algerian-French Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema was awarded the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year in Istanbul on Thursday for his exceptional performance in the 2021/22 season.
Last season, the former Vogue Man Arabia cover star lead Los Blancos to the finale with three goals against Paris Saint-Germain in the last-16, prior to performing the master stroke again against Chelsea in the quarter-finals of the competition. The French player had a momentous season domestically as well, with Real Madrid being crowned champions of Spain. The 34-year-old is also expected to take home a Ballon d’Or this season.
“I’m really happy,” said Benzema receiving the award, dressed in a single-breasted suit from Fendi Men’s Fall/Winter 2022 collection. “It’s the first time I’ve won this trophy but for me the most important thing is to win trophies with the team. Mr Ancelotti is the best coach in the world; he gets it right with every player, he gives us confidence and he tells you what to do before every match.”
Carlo Ancelotti, Benzema’s club manager also won the Men’s Coach of the year award. He became the first coach to win Europe’s most esteemed club trophy four times. He first won the title with AC Milan in 2003 and 2007 before acquiring it with Real in 2014. When asked about his victory, Acelotti said, “The passion I have for the sport and the quality of the players”, and continued “Last season there was a fantastic connection between the veterans and young ones, there was fantastic chemistry with the supporters that helped us reach an unbelievable achievement.”
Speaking about Benzema, Ancelotti said, “Karim is not just a fantastic striker and top scorer, he’s a fantastic footballer, supported by great attitude day by day.” He also added, “Compared to last year, this year he improved his knowledge, he knows the game really well, how to manage the game and he’s a strong leader in the dressing room and a good friend of mine. We are lucky to have Karim.”