To nobody’s surprise, France Football’s 2022 Ballon d’Or goes to Karim Benzema of reigning Champions League winners Real Madrid. Bayern Munich’s Sadio Mané will be delighted to join the ranks of the highest honors — placing 2nd in the Ballon d’Or voting and also winning the inaugural edition of the Socrates Award:
The top five finishers for the Ballon d’Or were as follows:
- Karim Benzema, Real Madrid
- Sadio Mané, Liverpool / Bayern Munich
- Kevin De Bruyne, Manchester City
- Robert Lewandowski, Bayern Munich / FC Barcelona
- Mo Salah, Liverpool
The Socrates Award is aimed at honoring “the best social initiative by committed champions”, according to France Football (per beIN). It is named for the late Brazilian midfielder Socrates, who helped organize a pro-democracy campaign while at Corinthians during a time when his country was under military rule.
Mané, who joined the Bavarians early in this summer's transfer window, has had a banner calendar year for both his clubs — starting with an AFCON 2021 win for Senegal, where his team defeated Liverpool teammate and fellow Ballon d’Or contender Mohammed Salah in the Final.
Here’s Mané sharing a wholesome embrace at the ceremony with Arsenal FC star and England international Bukayo Saka:
Bayern’s Joshua Kimmich also placed 25th in the rankings:
He was tied in that spot with a number of players, including RB Leipzig’s Christopher Nkunku, Real Madrid and Germany international player Antonio Rüdiger, and AC Milan keeper Mike Maignan.
Robert Lewandowski, now at FC Barcelona, placed second with Bayern last year, but the last times Bayern saw a player in the top three before that were Franck Ribery (2013) and Manuel Neuer (2014). Mané shared an embrace with Lewy as well:
It must be said that Mané’s accomplishments with the Reds played the lion’s share of earning his way to this distinction. Mané scored a lot of key goals that kept Liverpool in the running for what could’ve been a truly remarkable and historical quadruple. But now it’s time already to look forward to next year — and what Mané might achieve under the banner of his new reds, Die Roten, as well as in Qatar this winter, at the 2022 Men’s World Cup with Senegal.