Ballon d’Or is often considered to be the highest award a footballer can get. Presented by French news magazine France Football, it was started in 1956 and has been given to the best player of the year, by virtue of voting.
Lionel Messi has the highest number of this accolade with 7, followed by Cristiano Ronaldo with 5. The duo dominated between 2008 and 2021, winning it 12 out of 13 times.
2018 was the deviation from the norm, with Ronaldo’s club teammate Luka Modric bagging the prestigious title, while the award was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic.
The 2022 ceremony was held yesterday in the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris. Over the years, the recognitions given has increased.
This year, five titles were given.
The flagship prize went to Karim Benzema, as many had expected. Ballon d’Or Feminin was awarded to Alexia Putellas of Spain, her second in as many years.
Gavi took home the Kopa Trophy (best U-21 player), while Thibaut Courtois got his first Yashin Trophy (best goalkeeper). The best striker award, or the Gerd Muller Trophy, was handed to Robert Lewandowski.
Sadio Mane and Kevin de Bruyne rounded up the top three rankings in Ballon d’Or, while Benzema’s international teammate Kylian Mbappe finished just outside the top five.
The French award ceremony is one of the few occasions we get where we see the footballers out of their usual sports kits and in nice suits. The players are quite often accompanied by families, allowing us to see their plus ones or their kids.
Kylian Mbappe though, turned up alone, in the midst of rumours of him dating model Inés Rau.
He was sat next to Thibaut Courtois and another woman that many had not seen before, Trinity Rodman.
The 20-year-old plays for USWNT and Washington Spirit and was nominated for Ballon d’Or Feminin.
The forward finished 18th in the ranking but in the process became the youngest player to be shortlisted for the award.
Here she is, expressing her surprise and gratification for the nomination.
One of the three US nationals to be nominated, the player is the daughter of former basketball player and Chicago Bulls legend Dennis Rodman.
Well, I guess sports run in their blood because the youngster has made quite a name for herself.
At the age of 18, Trinity became the youngest to be drafted into the National Women’s Soccer League.
She has since gone on to earn the NWSL Rookie of the year, NWSL Best XI and US Soccer Young Female Player of the year.
Washington obviously knew they had a star in their team and went on to make her the highest-paid player in the league, with a four-year $1.1 million deal.
It certainly seems that sky is the limit for Trinity Rodman and it won’t be long before she betters the 18th rank she achieved this year.
Quite why she was sitting beside the PSG superstar is another story. Maybe it was a random seating arrangement. Or maybe there is a romantic angle involved.
We are not sure. But we know we will see her here again next year.