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FC Barcelona won more prizes than any other club at the Teatre Chatelet, París on Monday night. Alexia Putellas scooped the women's award for the second year in a row, Gavi collected the Kopa Trophy for the best young player and Robert Lewandowski received the Gerd Müller prize for scoring the most goals for club and country (although in this case it was for goals scored for his former club Bayern Munich that counted).
The other winners were Real Madrid (men's Ballon d’Or for Karim Benzema and Yashin Trophy for best goalkeeper to Thibaut Courtois), Manchester City (team of the year) and Sadio Mané,formerly of Liverpool and now Bayern, who was given the Sòcrates Trophy for charity work.
From Luis Suárez to Alexia Putellas
Putellas' win means FC Barcelona players have now been named world player of the year by France Football an incredible fourteen times.
The first winner was a 25-year-old Luis Suárez in 1960, only the fifth year of what was still a low-key event.
Johan Cruyff was the next winner in 1973, in recognition of his merits for both Ajax and Barça, and then again in 1974, completely in honour of his services for the latter.
It was a two-decade wait before Hristo Stoitckov became the third winner in 1994, after his brilliant form for Barça under the same Cruyff, and also for leading Bulgaria all the way to the World Cup semi-finals.
Five years later Rivaldo saw off stiff competition from David Beckham and Andriy Shevchenko (it was the Ukrainian who presented Alexia with her prize on Monday), and in 2005 another Barça Brazilian, Ronaldinho, was the inner after starring in the Champions League winning squad.
And the came the Leo Messi era. The Argentinian would win the Ballon d'Or a staggering four times in a row (2009 to 2012), and then won it again in both 2015 and 2019. Six times, and wearing the FC Barcelona shirt for all of them.
And he would win it again in 2021, but this time after joining PSG. That's a situation comparable to Ronaldo in 1997 (who had left for Inter) and Luis Figo in 2000 (by then at Real Madrid), which are three further Ballon d'Or's that may not officially have been won by the Catalan club, but where the Barça influence was more than evident.
And so to Alexia Putellas. Not only did she become the first Barça woman to win the award, but also the first Catalan in either category. And now she has won it again, in a year when she is sure to bring plenty more joy to the team as soon as she can get over her knee injury.
Real Madrid second
The nearest any club can come to Barça's fourteen is Real Madrid with twelve, namely Alfredo Di Stèfano (1957 & 1959), Raymond Kopa (1958), Luis Figo (2000), Ronaldo Nazario (2002), Fabio Cannavaro (2006), Cristiano Ronaldo (2013, 2014, 2016 & 2017), Luka Modric (2018) and now Karim Benzema (2022).
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