File photo of Alexia Putellas of Barcelona and Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema,© AFP
Karim Benzema and Alexia Putellas were rewarded for outstanding seasons by winning the UEFA men’s and women’s player of the year prizes at a ceremony in Istanbul on Thursday. France striker Benzema captained Real Madrid to victory over Liverpool in the Champions League final and scored 15 goals in the competition, while Putellas was the top scorer in the Women’s Champions League, helping Barcelona reach the final which they lost to Lyon. Benzema took the men’s honours ahead of club team-mate Thibaut Courtois and Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne, succeeding Chelsea midfielder Jorginho who won the award last year.
The 34-year-old scored hat-tricks against Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea in the Champions League knockout rounds and netted three times across the two legs of the semi-final against Manchester City.
He struck 44 times in 46 games altogether as Real also won the Spanish title.
Putellas, 28, claimed the prize for a second straight year despite suffering a serious knee injury that ruled her out of Euro 2022.
She finished ahead of England forward and European champion Beth Mead, the joint leading scorer at the tournament, and young Germany midfielder Lena Oberdorf.
Carlo Ancelotti was named best men’s coach for his success with Real, with Dutchwoman Sarina Wiegman crowned best women’s coach after leading England to Euro glory on home soil last month.
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