Benzema named Champions League Player of the Season after Real Madrid heroics

By Sports Desk May 31, 2022

Karim Benzema has been named the 2021-22 Champions League Player of the Season after helping Real Madrid to a 14th European crown.

Benzema also won the competition's Goal of the Season honour for a supreme header against Chelsea in the quarter-finals, while team-mate Vinicius Junior has been named Young Player of the Season.

The duo were instrumental in Madrid's defying run to Saturday's final in Paris, where Vinicius' finish was enough to earn a 1-0 victory over Liverpool.

With 15 goals across the season, Benzema topped the scoring charts in Europe, with a joint-record ten of those goals in the knockout stage.

The attacker, a heavy favourite for the Ballon d'Or this season, was at the centre of dramatic comeback wins against Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Manchester City.

Vinicius meanwhile delivered four goals and six assists throughout, with the latter tally only bettered by Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes.

Both Madrid players were named to the Champions League Team of the Season, alongside club-mates Thibaut Courtois and Luka Modric.

Courtois made nine saves in the final to keep Liverpool at bay. He finished the Champions League campaign having faced 72 shots on target, conceding 14 goals. According to expected goals data, the Belgium international prevented 4.7 goals.

 

Beaten finalists Liverpool also contributed four players, with Fabinho, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk and Andrew Robertson featuring.

Kylian Mbappe, who scored six goals in eight Champions League matches, was named alongside Benzema and Vinicius in attack – an attacking trio that might have been lining up for Los Blancos next season had the France forward not decided to stay at PSG.

City playmaker De Bruyne also made the XI, as did Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger, who is set to join Madrid on a free transfer.

2021-22 UEFA Champions League Team of the Season: Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid); Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Antonio Rudiger (Chelsea), Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool), Andy Robertson (Liverpool); Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Fabinho (Liverpool), Luka Modric (Real Madrid); Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid).

Related items

  • Barcelona fined for racist behaviour of fans at Paris St Germain Barcelona fined for racist behaviour of fans at Paris St Germain

    Barcelona have been fined 25,000 euros (£21,400) by UEFA for racist behaviour by their fans during the Champions League quarter-final first-leg tie at Paris St Germain.

    Three charges were brought against Barca following the fixture at Parc des Princes on April 10, which included acts of damage and lighting of fireworks.

    UEFA’s Appeals Body announced on Thursday Barcelona will be fined for the racist behaviour of their fans and will be banned from selling tickets to their away supporters for the Spanish club’s next UEFA competition match.

    That ticket ban has been suspended for a probationary period of one year, which started from the date of the present decision.

    Barcelona must also pay a 2,000 euro fine for lighting fireworks and a further 5,000 euro fine for acts of damage.

    After Barca won the first leg 3-2 in Paris, they lost 4-1 in the second leg at home this week to exit the Champions League 6-4 on aggregate.

  • Harry Kane savours Champions League ‘war’ with England team-mate Jude Bellingham Harry Kane savours Champions League ‘war’ with England team-mate Jude Bellingham

    Harry Kane is ready to go into battle against Jude Bellingham for a spot in the Champions League final before the pair aim to lead England to Euro 2024 glory.

    England captain Kane moved to Bayern Munich from Tottenham last year while Bellingham left Borussia Dortmund to join Real Madrid.

    Both helped their respective clubs to Champions League quarter-final wins over Premier League sides on Wednesday night as Bayern beat Arsenal and Real saw off Manchester City on penalties. Bellingham scored in that shoot-out while Kane netted a first-leg spot-kick at the Emirates Stadium.

    Those wins tee up a mouth-watering semi-final clash between two clubs who have won 20 European Cups between them.

    Despite Arsenal and City being eliminated, meaning the first semi-final line-up since 2020 with no Premier League clubs, Kane believes there will still be plenty of English interest in how he and Bellingham fare.

    “Jude has had a fantastic season, he’s a top player,” he said.

    “I’m really happy for him but it will be another war against his team – but that’s the experiences that we both went abroad to try to achieve, to play in these big nights in the Champions League, to play in these big semi-finals.

    “It will be one to enjoy and I’m sure there will be a lot of English fans watching both of us. We have to focus on ourselves. Of course, I’ll say hello but once we’re on the pitch, it’s business.”

    Kane is still yet to win a major trophy in his career and also has the added incentive of the Champions League final taking place at Wembley on June 1, with either Dortmund or Paris St Germain awaiting the winner of Real and Bayern.

    “For both of us, for sure,” Kane replied when asked if Wembley is the dream for him and Bellingham.

    “With Wembley being our national stadium, it’s extra motivation there for us but there are two games ahead of us before that, which are going to be really tough so we have to focus on that.

    “Real Madrid are a big club with amazing history in the Champions League so it’s going to be a really difficult game for us.

    “But that’s what the semi-finals of the Champions League are all about, the biggest teams, so we enjoy this tonight and then prepare for that game in a couple of weeks.”

  • I saw only one team – Rodri bemoans Real Madrid’s tactics after City’s Euro exit I saw only one team – Rodri bemoans Real Madrid’s tactics after City’s Euro exit

    Rodri claims he “saw only one team” trying to win as he bemoaned Real Madrid’s tactics following Manchester City’s heartbreaking Champions League quarter-final loss.

    City’s European title defence ended in agonising fashion at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday as the Spanish giants prevailed 4-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw on the night meant the tie ended 4-4 on aggregate.

    It was a clash the holders completely dominated, racking up 33 attempts on goal to the visitors’ eight, but Real defended deep to frustrate them and ultimately ended their hopes of a second successive treble.

    City midfielder Rodri said: “To be honest, I saw only one team. In terms of defending, they defended (well). They knew how to suffer and we know how tough Real Madrid are.

    “But in my opinion we should go through with that amount of chances but this is the trick of this competition. They know how to play it. We congratulate them.

    “We gave everything, there is nothing to regret. This is football sometimes. This shows how difficult it is to win it, as we did last season. It was very frustrating and sometimes it is difficult to explain.”

    City’s exit from the competition they won with a Rodri goal in Istanbul last year, coupled with Arsenal’s loss to Bayern Munich, means there are no English semi-finalists for the first time since 2020.

    City had to chase the tie after Rodrgyo pounced to put Real ahead after 12 minutes.

    They created a plethora of chances in a storming response, with Erling Haaland going the closest in the first half when he headed against the bar.

    Further opportunities came and went after the break and it was not until the 76th minute that Kevin De Bruyne finally broke through to net a deserved equaliser.

    But De Bruyne spurned a good chance to win it when he fired over soon after and, with extra-time failing to separate the sides, it came down to spot-kicks.

    Ederson saved from Luka Modric but Bernardo Silva’s attempted Panenka was too easy for Andriy Lunin, who also denied Mateo Kovavic as Real went through.

    The Premier League leaders now have little time to pick themselves up before heading to Wembley for an FA Cup semi-final with Chelsea on Saturday.

    Rodri said: “We will have to digest the loss but we will have to wake up, stand up. We still have two more competitions to play for.

    “We need the mentality (to be) positive, to find any ambition that right now is difficult to find. Tomorrow we will find it and go against Chelsea, try to be in another final and fight for the Premier League.”

    City will need to assess key pair Haaland and De Bruyne who, along with Manuel Akanji, were substituted before the penalty shoot-out.

    Haaland was removed at the end of the regulation 90 minutes with the influential De Bruyne leaving the action in the second period of extra-time.

    Manager Pep Guardiola said: “Erling and Kevin asked me to go out – they could not continue, like Manu. The game we were playing, they were amazing, but they could not continue.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.