Benzema Ballon d’Or 2022 : After Karim Benzema clinched his first ever Ballon d’Or accolade on Monday night , we take a look at the full list of all players to win the prestigious France Football award aged at least 30 years.
Stanley Matthews: 41 years old (1956)
It is certainly an impossible record to achieve. For the first edition in history, in 1956, Blackpool winger Stanley Matthews was awarded the Ballon d’Or at the age of 41. At the time, and until 1995, it rewarded the best European player. A considerable feat given the pedigree of his runner-up, a certain Alfredo Di Stefano.
Lionel Messi: 35 years old (2021)
A scenario that repeats itself over and over again. The one where Lionel Messi fills his trophy cabinet with one more Ballon d’Or each season. In 2021, “La Pulga” was no exception to the rule with the 7th award of her career. Hounded by Robert Lewandowski, Messi enjoys his first success on the continental scene with Argentina, after a victory in Copa America against the Brazilian rival (1-0).
Lev Yashin: 34 years old (1963)
Lev Yachine remains the only goalkeeper to have won the Ballon d’Or. Lev Yachine remains the only goalkeeper to have won the Ballon d’Or.
“The Black Spider” is a figurehead in the goalkeeping position. Winner of the Olympic Games in 1956 and Euro 1960 with the USSR, Lev Yachine inscribed his name in the pantheon of legends of the Ballon d’Or in 1963.
At 34, he became the first and only goalkeeper to obtain this reward. Other owners like Dino Zoff (1973), Ivo Viktor (1976), Oliver Kahn (2001 and 2002), Gianluigi Buffon (2006), or Manuel Neuer (2014) got closer, without being rewarded.
Karim Benzema: 34 years old (2022)
Author of a hat-trick in 18 minutes, Karim Benzema made an impression during the match against PSG (3-1), on March 9, 2022.
Never has the former Lyonnais been so clinical (15 goals in C1 and 27 goals in La Liga) as last season. In addition to his prolific exercise, the Madrid icon has proven that he can take on the costume of leader of the Merengue attack.
Often mentioned as a lieutenant in the service of Cristiano Ronaldo when the Portuguese was playing at Real, he was able to reverse many situations in the final phase of the Champions League. Witness his two hat-tricks in a row against Chelsea (round of 16 return, 3-1, April 6, 2022) and PSG (quarter-finals first leg, 3-1, March 9).
The year 2022 represents a consecration for one of the last representatives of the 87 generation. Thanks to his Champions League- La Liga- UEFA Supercup hat-trick as captain, Benzema has consolidated his place among the best players in the world.
Alfredo Di Stefano: 33 years old (1959)
Icon of the 50s with Real, Di Stefano compiled the collective coronations (5 European Cups won) and individual (twice Ballon d’Or).
In 1959, when the White Angels reigned supreme over Europe, the Argentinian scored in the final of the European Cup for champion clubs against Stade de Reims (2-0). After 1957, he won his second Ballon d’Or at the age of 33, ahead of his teammate Raymond Kopa.
Luka Modric: 33 years old (2018)
2018 was a banner year for Champions League winner and World Cup runner-up Luka Modric. It might not be a unanimous accolade, but it doesn’t take anything away from Luka Modric’s performance. With a Champions League won with Real against Liverpool (3-1) and a World Cup where he led Croatia to the first final in its history, the midfielder will remain the exception to the Messi- Ronaldo. Even today, the native of Zadar continues to deliver trivelas from the outside of the foot to the delight of attackers.
Fabio Cannavaro: 33 years old (2006)
Fabio Cannavaro was the cornerstone of Italy’s victory in the 2006 World Cup. Sixteen years ago, Squadra Azzurra defender Fabio Cannavaro allowed Italy to win its 4th star during the 2006 World Cup. Imperial during the competition, Cannavaro remains the only defender of the 21st century to have won the highest individual award. Small for his position (1m76), he stands out with his header and his knowledge of placement.
Cristiano Ronaldo: 32 years old (2017)
Among his five trophies, CR7 won his last Ballon d’Or in 2017. That year, he won his second Champions League in a row with Real by scoring twice in the final against Juve (4-1) and enhanced his 2016-2017 season with a victory in the Club World Cup and the European Super Cup. Statistically, the Portuguese once again trivializes the exceptional by totaling 37 goals in all competitions with Madrid.
Josef Masopust: 31 years old (1962)
In an era marked by the height of the Cold War, Czechoslovakian Masopust’s victory in the 1962 Ballon d’Or remains a notable symbol. The first player from the Soviet bloc to lift this award, he notably opened the scoring against Brazil in the 1962 World Cup final, before the Auriverde selection took over (3-1).
Pavel Nedved: 31 years old (2003)
Before Luka Modric, there was Pavel Nedved. If both their position (Nedved evolved a notch higher in the field) and their nationality differ (Croatian for one, Czech for the other), Pavel Nedved fits, like Luka Modric, in the line of European circles of is brilliant with their ball-to-foot elegance.
Having nothing to do with the pressure aroused by his status as Zidane’s successor when he joined Juve in 2001, he progressed season after season within the Turin squad. In 2003, his football was at its peak.
He hoisted the Bianconeri to the Champions League final despite their defeat against AC Milan (0-0, 3-2 on penalties) and won the Championship title.
Michel Platini: 30 years old (1985)
Michel Platini won three consecutive Ballon d’Or awards between 1983 and 1985. To say that the beginning of the 80s belongs to Michel Platini is a simple observation.
After two Ballons d’Or gleaned in 1983 and 1984, the French managed the pass of three in 1985 after a success in the European Cup of champion clubs and in the World Cup of clubs.
The number 10 collects 127 points out of 130. Proof that despite his passage in his thirties, his performance and his aura remained intact.
This was article appeared originally in French by France Football and was translated into English by Ghana Sports Market.
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