The question was simple — who will win this year’s UEFA Player of the Year award? The answer was to know! Three were on the shortlist—Karim Benzema, Thibaut Courtois and Kevin De Bruyne. Choosing one among these three was not a very difficult task. Most football fans could have guessed that this year’s UEFA Player of the Year award would go to Benzema.
Unsurprisingly, football fans’ guesses were right. Real Madrid’s French striker Benzema won the UEFA Player of the Year award for the first time since 2011. However, he is not the first footballer from France to win this award. Before this, Franck Ribery won the award as the first French footballer in the 2012-13 season. Ribery played a major role in helping Bayern win the Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup.
The UEFA player of the year trophy is in the hands of Benzema
Players’ performances for club and country during the European football season are taken into account to select UEFA’s best. First, its ‘Technical Study Group’ analyzed the players’ data at the time and shortlisted 15 players. From among the players on that list, the top three were chosen by the judges’ votes.
The judges are the coaches of the clubs playing in the Champions League, Europa League and Conference League that season and journalists selected from UEFA member countries. A coach cannot vote for his own club’s players
The UEFA Women’s Footballer of the Year Alexia Putias
Considering the performances of the shortlisted trio during this period, most football fans were betting on Benzema. The judges’ votes also went to his box. During this time Benzema could not win anything for the country. However, in club football, he has won La Liga, Champions League, Spanish Super Cup and UEFA Super Cup for Real Madrid. He is also the top scorer in the Champions League and La Liga. Scored 27 goals in La Liga and 15 in the Champions League.
De Bruyne, one of Benzema’s two rivals, won the only Premier League title for Manchester City last season. Another rival, Courtois, is Benzema’s Real teammate. He was simply outstanding under the goal post as Real won La Liga and the Champions League. However, Benzema‘s performance has been much discussed as a striker.
Real Madrid’s Carlo Ancelotti won the UEFA Coach of the Year award
Benzema’s performance in the last sixteen and last eight in particular was exceptional. In the second leg of the last sixteen, Benzema beat PSG 3-1 with an extraordinary hat-trick and took Real to the quarter-finals. He also scored a hat-trick in the 3-1 win over Chelsea in the first leg of the quarter-finals.
Similarly, Italian coach Carlo Ancelotti, who has won so much for Real, won the coach of the year award. Barcelona’s Alexia Putias was named the best female footballer of the year.