Karim Benzema is one of the three main candidates for the 2021/22 UEFA Player of the Year award.
UEFA.com looks at why he is in the running alongside Thibaut Courtois and Kevin De Bruyne.
why was he nominated
The French striker was named UEFA Champions League Player of the Season for 2021/22 after leading Real Madrid to their 14th European title, the fifth since joining from Lyon in 2009. His 15 goals, including the record of ten goals in the knockout phase, allowed him to lead the competition’s scorers, and his 27 goals in the League were also a record.
The 34-year-old veteran began the campaign by helping France to the glory in the UEFA Nations League and he never looked back, with his three consecutive goals in the Champions League round of 16 against Paris and Chelsea the highlight of a season full of goals and trophies.
The 2021/22 in numbers
UEFA Champions League Champion, UEFA Champions League Player of the Season, UEFA Super Cup Champion, UEFA Nations League Champion, LaLiga Champion, Spanish Super Cup Champion.
UEFA champions league
Man of the Match Awards: 4
His three best performances
Real Madrid-Paris 3-1
Two goals behind on aggregate in the round of 16, with half an hour to go, Carlo Ancelotti’s men were leaving the Champions League. But Benzema, who forced an error from Gianluigi Donnarumma to give his team hope, completed his hat-trick in 17 minutes and sealed a sensational comeback.
Chelsea-Real Madrid 1-3
In the first leg of the quarter-final, Benzema continued that form, but it took a further 25 minutes for this hat-trick to be achieved. Two magnificent headers in three minutes left the defending champions on the ropes, with the third goal coming seconds after the break when the striker pressed the hosts into submission.
Spain – France 1-2
After starting Les Bleus’ extraordinary comeback against Belgium in the Nations League semi-final, he repeated the feat in the final. Two minutes after trailing, France leveled thanks to a 66th-minute strike from Benzema before lifting the trophy.
Who won last year?
Jorginho won the 2020/21 UEFA Player of the Year award after becoming the tenth player to win a European Cup and a UEFA EURO in the same year. The midfielder inspired Chelsea to UEFA Champions League glory with his ability to dictate the game and Roberto Mancini took notice, making him the linchpin of the UEFA EURO 2020-winning Italy squad.