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 had been the heavy favourite for the men’s award after he lead Real Madrid to a record-extending 14th European title while Putellas won a second straight UEFA women’s best player award.
She was expected to lead Spain at the European Championship in July but suffered a serious knee injury days before the tournament started in England.
Putellas limped up several steps to the stage to collect her trophy minutes after the men’s Champions League groups were drawn.
The coaching awards went to the winners of the two biggest events last season – Carlo Ancelotti of Madrid and Sarina Wiegman, who led England to the Euro 2022 title.
Voting was done by coaches whose teams played in European competitions and selected journalists across Europe.
Benzema won from a three-player shortlist that included Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne.
Ancelotti again beat Jürgen Klopp, whose Liverpool team lost the Champions League final, and Pep Guardiola of Premier League winner Man City.
Putellas won her vote ahead of England forward Beth Mead, who was the Euro 2022 joint top scorer with six goals, and Germany midfielder Lena Oberdorf.
Wiegman again finished ahead of Germany’s Martina Voss-Tecklenburg and Sonia Bompastor of Lyon.