Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois struggled to hide his frustration after his teammate Karim Benzema beat him the 2022 men’s Ballon d’Or award.
Courtois and Benzema were both key players last season for Madrid, who won the La Liga title and Champions League double under Carlo Ancelotti.
Former Liverpool forward Sadio Mane, who is now with Bayern Munich, came second, while Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne was third.
Courtois, meanwhile, won the Yashin Trophy for being last season’s best goalkeeper.
But the Belgium international had to settle for seventh place in the overall Ballon d’Or standings, despite his remarkable form last season which included a man-of-the-match performance in the Champions League final against Liverpool.
After the awards had been dished out, Courtois struggled to hide his disappointment at failing to finish on the podium for the Ballon d’Or.
“I’m very happy for Karim Benzema. I’m not saying I would have won it, but I’m not even on the podium being the goalkeeper who won La Liga and the Champions League,” Courtois told the Spanish media, as reported by Belgian site DH.
“It seems that scoring a goal is better than stopping it. It is a battle that remains to be won. Seeing the logic and knowing how they vote, I knew I would have no chance of winning it.”
“A future winning goalkeeper? I see that as impossible for a goalkeeper,” added Courtois.
“It’s impossible to win this award. I don’t know if as a goalkeeper you can do more than what I did last year.”
After the awards ceremony, former Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas expressed his sympathy for Courtois.
Thibaut Courtois: I see it as impossible to win the Ballon d’Or (as a GK) You win LaLiga and Champions League, your team wins, You made great saves… and you only finish 7th. At least they have invented the trophy for best goalkeeper.”
— Real Madrid Info ³⁵ (@RMadridInfo) October 17, 2022
“With a huge difference, the best goalkeeper in the world. What I’m not happy about is that he was not included in the final podium for the Ballon d’Or.
“I still don’t understand what those who choose this award are based on.”
Lev Yashin remains the only goalkeeper to have ever won the Ballon d’Or, having claimed the award in 1963.
Casillas’ highest finish in the Ballon d’Or was fourth in 2008, while Bayern Munich and Germany legend Manuel Neuer came third in 2015.
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