Real Madrid ace Thibaut Courtois slams 2022 Ballon d’Or rankings after Benzema’s win

The Santiago Bernabeu goalkeeper wasn’t happy with his ranking and rehashed the age-old question: can a goalkeeper compete for a Ballon d’Or in the modern game?

Thibaut Courtois was one of two Real Madrid players to come away from yesterday’s Ballon d’Or gala with an award. The Belgian superstar was named the goalkeeper of the year, winning the coveted Yashin Award, overcoming competition along the way.

What about the biggest prize? That went to Los Blancos teammate Karim Benzema, with the Frenchman being named the 2022 Ballon d’Or winner, beating out competition from Sadio Mane and Kevin de Bruyne, who came in at second and third respectively.

However, despite being honored for his impressive season in between the sticks, Courtois left Monday’s award ceremony with a bitter taste. The former Chelsea shot-stopper wasn’t pleased with his overall Ballon d’Or ranking and hit out at the voting process for France Football’s prestigious prize.

Despite playing a crucial role in Real Madrid’s UEFA Champions League and La Liga success last season, with Courtois winning Man of the Match in the European final versus Liverpool, the Belgian did not even make the top five in the Ballon d’Or rankings.

After keeping 22 clean sheets and conceding 46 goals, the Santiago Bernabeu keeper only managed a seventh-placed finish, which rehashed the age-old question: can a goalkeeper ever compete for a Ballon d’Or in the modern game?

Of the six players that ranked higher than Courtois, all but one (De Bruyne) were attackers, and the two other players who weren’t attackers that made the top 10 were midfielders idolized for their attacking contributions (De Bruyne in 3rd and Luka Modric in 9th).

“You win La Liga and you win the Champions League, your team wins thanks to your saves… and you only finish seventh,” Courtois told Spanish outlet Teledeporte.

“The truth is that I see it as impossible. In the top 10, there wasn’t even a single defender. At least this year they have invented the trophy for best goalkeeper.”

While Thibaut saw off competition from Liverpool’s Alisson, Man City’s Ederson, and Chelsea’s 2021 Africa Cup of Nations-winning goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, it brings up an interesting debate around the favoritism for attack-minded players.

As the Real Madrid keeper pointed out, there was no defender in the top 10, with Fabio Cannavaro back in 2006 being the last defender to win this prize. As for goalkeepers, only one has ever lifted the Ballon d’Or and that man was Lev Yashin, whom the Yashin Trophy was named after, winning it back in 1963.

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