Football is much more than a sport or even a business: it is the opportunity to give away for those who became successful thanks to the black and white ball (which tends to be everything but black and white now by the way, but this is another marketing issue).
Last night in Paris, Châtelet Theater, the most prestigious individual award for a football player, Ballon d’Or, was granted to French international player Karim Benzema, 34 years old and playing as a forward for Spanish club Real Madrid whose squad grabbed the Champions’ League in last May. The award winner, Algerian roots, received the so dreamt trophy from Zinedine Zidane and Didier Drogba and became the fifth French player to ever win a Ballon d’Or after Raymond Kopa, Michel Platini (three times), Jean-Pierre Papin and Zinedine Zidane.
The ceremony was also the opportunity to celebrate another kind of action, not on the green pitch this time: Sadio Mané, who ended up second in the final ranking of Ballon d’Or, was rewarded with the Socrates Prize for his charitable actions in his birthplace Bambali (Southern Senegal).
The Senegal and Bayern Munich striker, who will play the World Cup in Qatar with the Lions in one month from now on, invested in Bambali to set up a hospital and urge both boys and girls to be able to play football: a synthetic pitch is going to be built up soon in his native village.
Mohamed Salah (5/Egypt), Riyad Mahrez (12/Algeria) and Sébastien Haller (13/Ivory Coast) are also taking part in the final ranking of 2022 Ballon d’Or. Except for Mané, none of them will participate in the upcoming world cup still since their respective countries failed to pass the qualifiers. As a reminder, you will instead be allowed to follow Cameroon, Tunisia, Morocco and Ghana with the Senegalese team coached by Aliou Cissé.