Monday , October 3 2022

Karim Benzema and Alexia Putellas voted UEFA Players of the Year!

UEFA have announced the winners of the categories of UEFA Men’s Player of the Year, UEFA Women’s Player of the Year, UEFA Men’s Coach of the Year and UEFA Women’s Coach of the Year.

UEFA Men’s Player of the Year

Real Madrid CF striker Karim Benzema has been crowned 2021/22 UEFA Men’s Player of the Year. The announcement was made at today’s 2022/23 UEFA Champions League group stage draw, which took place at the Haliç Congress Center in Istanbul. The Frenchman was a pillar in his club’s victorious UEFA Champions League campaign last season, driving his side on to a record 14th European title. Benzema’s final tally of 15 goals earned him top spot in the competition’s scoring charts.

The jury was composed of the coaches of the clubs which played in the group stages of the 2021/22 UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and UEFA Europa Conference League. A group of journalists selected by the European Sports Media (ESM) were also part of the jury.

Benzema collected a total of 523 points, with Manchester City FC and Belgium midfielder Kevin De Bruyne (122 points) and Real Madrid CF and Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois (118 points) taking second and third places respectively.

Receiving the award on stage, 34-year-old Benzema said, “I am so happy and proud to be here, I’d first thank my club, my president and my coach who is here and all my teammates. Without them, I would not get that kind of trophy. It’s the first time I’ve won this trophy but for me the most important thing is to win trophies with the team.”

“Mr Ancelotti is the best coach in the world; he gets it right with every player, he gives us confidence and he tells you what to do before every match.”

“My best memory from last season is the return leg against Paris Saint-Germain. With the help of our fans, we managed to turn the game on its head and progress. They gave us a lot of self-confidence to demonstrate that we were the best team.”

UEFA Women’s Player of the Year

Alexia Putellas was named 2021/22 UEFA Women’s Player of the Year at the same ceremony in Istanbul. The Spanish midfielder wins this award for the second time in a row.

The FC Barcelona captain had the most prolific campaign of her club career with 34 goals and reached another UEFA Women’s Champions League final. She obtained a total of 97 points in a special poll featuring coaches and journalists. Arsenal Women FC and England forward Beth Mead came second with 84 points, while VfL Wolfsburg and German international Lena Oberdorf finished third with 47 points.

The jury was composed of the coaches of the teams which participated in this summer’s UEFA Women’s EURO 2022, together with the coaches of the clubs which played in the group stage of the 2021/22 UEFA Women’s Champions League. A group of journalists selected by the European Sports Media (ESM) were also part of the jury.

Receiving the award on stage, 28-year-old Putellas said, “I feel very happy to win this award for the second consecutive year, especially right at this moment. Unfortunately, I’m not able to do what I love doing most [due to long-term injury], so being here again motivates me. The coming year will be a tough one for me but I want to get back to playing and training and to be able to do my job, which is what I like doing most. I’m working towards that with my recovery every day.”

“The most special moment [last season] was without doubt playing the two games at Camp Nou. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my club. I was able to fulfil a dream that at all Barça fans have, which is to play at a sold-out Camp Nou.”

“My role [in promoting women’s football] is the same as that of my team. I’d like to thank all of my team-mates, the coaching staff, the backroom staff and everyone at the club and in the national team. I’ve no doubt that they all help me to continue growing and learning every day. It’s also thanks to them that I’m receiving this award so I’d like to dedicate it to all of them.”

On the same occasion, UEFA also honoured the coaches who had the biggest impact over the previous season.

UEFA Men’s Coach of the Year

Real Madrid CF’s Carlo Ancelotti received the 2021/22 UEFA Men’s Coach of the Year award. The Italian coach, who last season became the first coach to win the European Champion Clubs’ Cup/UEFA Champions League for a fourth time after leading his club to glory in the 2022 final in Paris, received a total of 526 points in a special poll featuring coaches and journalists. Liverpool FC’s coach, Jürgen Klopp, came second with 210 points, while Manchester City FC coach Josep Guardiola was third with 108 points.

The jury was composed of the coaches of the clubs which played in the group stages of the 2021/22 UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and UEFA Europa Conference League. A group of journalists selected by the European Sports Media (ESM) were also part of the jury.

Receiving the award on stage, 63-year-old Ancelotti said, “Thank you to UEFA for this award. It gives me the opportunity to thank Arrigo Sacchi who was a fantastic teacher at the start of my career.”

“I have so many people to thank for this recognition in my career: the players, the fans for the evenings at the Santiago Bernabéu and my president who gave me the chance to come back to Madrid. And of course, I hope I don’t forget anyone, all my family.”

“For me personally, the magic formula is the passion I have for this sport. Secondly, the quality of the players that you have to manage. Last season was a special season, because in the dressing room there was a fantastic blend between the experience of the veterans and the energy of the younger players. And then, of course, there’s the fantastic chemistry we have in the stadium with our supporters.”

UEFA Women’s Coach of the Year

On the same occasion, Sarina Wiegman was voted 2021/22 UEFA Women’s Coach of the Year. The Dutch coach, who led the England women’s national team to an impressive UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 title on home soil in July, collected a total of 200 points in a special poll featuring coaches and journalists. Olympique Lyonnais coach Sonia Bompastor from France came second with 94 points, while Germany’s women’s national team coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg was third with 71 points.

The jury was composed of the coaches of the teams which participated in this summer’s UEFA Women’s EURO 2022, together with the coaches of the clubs which played in the group stage of the 2021/22 UEFA Women’s Champions League. A group of journalists selected by the European Sports Media (ESM) were also part of the jury.

In a video-recorded message, 52-year-old Wiegman said, “It’s really nice to receive this great award, I’m very honoured and humbled. I would like to congratulate Sonia and Martina for their nominations and their great achievement with their teams.”

“This award is really for everyone involved with the England team, The FA, the staff and of course, most of all, the players. Thank you very much.”

“Things have been set in place and gone very well since I started with the team in September. We’ve really enjoyed it and we’ve performed at our highest level. Our fans have been great too, so thank you to all the fans for supporting us so much.”

“Now we are looking forward again. Hopefully we qualify for the (FIFA Women’s) World Cup and then next year we go to the (FIFA Women’s) World Cup and try to improve the game, perform ourselves and enjoy the game of course.”

The UEFA Player and Coach of the Year awards recognise the best players and coaches, irrespective of their nationality, who have played for a football team or have coached a football team within the territory of a UEFA member national association. The awards are based on players’ and coaches’ performances during the 2021/22 season in all competitions, both domestic and international, and at club and national team levels.

UEFA President’s Award

Finally, during the awards ceremony in Istanbul, one of the world’s all-time leading coaches, Arrigo Sacchi was presented with the 2022 UEFA President’s Award by UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin for his outstanding career and services to football both on and off the pitch.

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