Benzema and Putellas win UEFA awards in a night of the stars

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By Martin Graham | 26th Aug 2022

Karim Benzema has been named the UEFA player of the year, while Alexia Putellas won in the women’s category.

The UEFA coach of the year award went to Carlo Ancelotti and England boss Sarina Wiegman.

The UEFA Champions League draws were conducted on Thursday evening and threw up some mouth-watering ties. The event also witnessed the award ceremony for the best individuals in various positions for the year. It threw up little surprises as the winners were expected by many.

The last decade has seen the awards being a war between two individuals – Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. For the second year running, the two supreme athletes were not in the running for the award, suggesting the end of an era for both players.

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Last season, Lionel Messi had a season to forget, while Cristiano Ronaldo could not reach his lofty heights despite having a decent season. 

The night belonged to Real Madrid, featuring in many of the awards. It was not unexpected as the club had a fantastic season where they won most of the trophies available to them. Where Cristiano Ronaldo was absent, Karim Benzema took up the mantle and was deservedly named the player of the year.

Real Madrid steal the show

The UEFA Champions League produced a modicum of drama, but it seems most of the script has been written, with many unsurprised with the outcome of the draw. The award ceremony was another ball game, and despite throwing up little surprises, it was for the first time in a long while without the usual controversies that trail the award.

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The night belonged to Real Madrid. They featured in almost all the event had to offer. 

France international and Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema was named the UEFA player of the year. Los Blancos manager Carlo Ancelotti went home with the award for the manager of the year. Both men were instrumental to real Madrid winning their 35th La Liga and 14th Champions League title last season. 

The award to both gentlemen was no surprise, as Real Madrid was dominant last season and dramatically won the Champions League. They also won La Liga but did it almost at a canter.

Wiegman and Putellas win the awards in the female category

The women were not left out of the party as they shared the spotlight with the men. While Karim Benzema was flying the Real Madrid flag high, Alexia Putellas ensured Barcelona was also in the discussion. 

Putellas was named the Women’s Player of the Year. She beat Beth Mead of England and Lena Oberdorf of Germany to the crown.

Putellas also won the award last year with the Ballon d’Or and continued her hot streak this season. She scored 34 goals for Barcelona last season as they won all the domestic trophies and reached the Champions League final. Putellas failed to make the Euros following a knee ligament injury she sustained in training.

The award for women’s UEFA coach of the year went to England manager Sarina Wiegman. She led the Lionesses to victory at the European Championship.

The Dutch coach could not attend the ceremony personally and accepted the award remotely.

Red-hot Benzema averts any controversy

All the talk before the awards was about whether there would be a surprise as Benzema was the clear favourite to win. The French striker beat all-comers in every index to be named the player of the year.

Benzema finished top scorer in the Champions League, where he scored 15 times to lead Real Madrid to the title. He also finished top scorer in La Liga with 27 goals and 13 assists. The success of the Frenchman consolidates the dominance of La Liga in Europe.

Carlo Ancelotti also became the first coach to win the Champions League four times, with the latest his second for Real Madrid and the other two with AC Milna in 2003 and 2007.

Martin Graham is an MFF sports writer

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