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Official: Karim Benzema wins the Ballon d’Or

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Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images

While Lionel Messi shocked the footballing world by marginally beating Robert Lewandowski for the Ballon d’Or title last year, the Argentine’s hegemony is about to come to an end as Karim Benzema has been crowned as the Ballon d’Or winner this year.

The Real Madrid forward beats Lewandowski to win the 2022 edition of the prestigious award, becoming only the second player after teammate Luka Modric to win the trophy since 2010.

Benzema’s triumph comes in the aftermath of an excellent 2021/22 campaign that saw him bag 44 goals in all competitions. 15 of his goals came in the UEFA Champions League, as he helped Real Madrid secure the coveted trophy for a record 14th time.

Benzema’s 27 goals were also crucial in helping Los Blancos clinch the title from the hands of cross-town rivals Atletico Madrid.

The Frenchman’s success also represents Real Madrid’s successful transition following the departure of old guards such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.

The way the attacker has stepped up to the plate in recent years has been critical in helping the club go through this transitional phase.

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Real Madrid News

Real Madrid midfielder set for a change in roles heading into the new season

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(Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images

Federico Valverde, the dynamic midfielder for Real Madrid, is once again on the cusp of adapting to a new role under the guidance of coach Carlo Ancelotti, reports Mario Calderon for Mundo Deportivo

Valverde’s remarkable versatility has been a key asset for Real Madrid, allowing him to excel in various positions on the field. This adaptability has been crucial for the team, and it seems another transformation is on the horizon for the 25-year-old Uruguayan.

The team chances and so does Valverde

His potential shift in role comes amid changes within the team, notably the reassignment of the number ‘8’ shirt to Toni Kroos. 

The German midfielder’s responsibility for constructing the game will likely be shared among several players to ensure a seamless transition.

Here, Valverde’s ability to quickly grasp new concepts will be a significant advantage for both him and Ancelotti. Even during the current period, with many players still absent, Ancelotti is already strategizing on how to best integrate everyone into the team dynamics without compromising performance.

Federico Valverde might play a different role at Real Madrid next season. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

Marcelo Bielsa must be credited

Valverde’s recent experiences with the Uruguayan national team in the Copa America under coach Marcelo Bielsa have further honed his skills. 

Bielsa entrusted Valverde with the captain’s armband and deployed him in a deeper role, where he was responsible for initiating plays from the back alongside his teammate, PSG’s young pivot, Manuel Ugarte. 

This experience has enriched Valverde’s understanding of the game, adding another layer to his already impressive skill set.

As the new season approaches, Valverde will need to re-establish himself in whatever role Ancelotti deems fit—be it as a winger, a pivot, or even a full-back, a position he has previously played under former coach Zinedine Zidane. 

Regardless of where he is positioned, Valverde’s importance to the team is undeniable. His versatility, coupled with his ability to adapt quickly, makes him a pivotal player for Real Madrid’s upcoming campaign.

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