Real Madrid seeking clean sweep of trophies and awards
Collectively, Madrid are aiming to win the sextuple while Benzema, Vinicius, Camavinga, Courtois and Ancelotti aspire to pick up individual awards.
Carlo Ancelotti retook the reins at Real Madrid in June 2021, after Zidane decided to bring his second spell at the club to an end. After failing to win the league in his first season back and being knocked out of the Champions League by Chelsea, Alaba and Camavinga were the only new arrivals last summer in a transfer window marked by the ongoing Mbappé saga and PSG’s refusal to sell him. In the meantime, Carletto’s central defensive pair Raphaël Varane and Sergio Ramos packed their bags. But one year on, in August 2022, the Italian coach was able to puff out his chest. “A year ago I don’t think anyone was sure of seeing a Madrid like this,” he said after watching his team lift the European Super Cup. Four trophies in 14 months and another five ahead which, if Madrid win, would constitute the Sextuple. Whether they manage to win the lot remains to be seen but along the way, along with any collective successes there will also be individual awards which could see Real Madrid monopolize the prizes in European football this season.
Karim Benzema is presented as the top favorite for the individual awards that in previous years went to others. Until 2018, the striker was very much in the shadows but that all changed after Cristiano’s departure to Juventus. The 2021-22 was his best so far - 44 goals in 46 games, which led to the conquest of the 35th league title and the club’s 14th Champions League, and Karim ended as the top scorer in both competitions. Added to that were the two Super Cup triumphs. All fo that makes him the prime candidate to win the Ballon d’Or, FIFA’s The Best and UEFA’s Footballer of the Year - which he can add to the Best Player award during the last edition of the Champions League. France Football, which has sent several nods to him throughout the year, has already announced the 30 nominees and Courtois, Vinicius, Modric, Casemiro and Rüdiger (for his role in Chelsea) accompany him in the list. But, after ending fourth in 2021, this has to be Karim’s year. He also features in the list of candidates for UEFA’s award. Courtois appears again and Kevin de Bruyne completes the shortlist.
The Belgian goalkeeper is another of the year’s great stars. He was the MVP of the Paris final, he could add the Yashin Trophy to his personal honours. He already knows who he will be up against - Bono, Alisson , Ederson, Maignan, Mendy, Oblak, Trapp and Lloris and then there is also The Best award for Best Goalkeeper. France Football’s gala meanwhile will include another madridista: Eduardo Camavinga. The midfielder will be up against Gavi, Jude Bellingham and Jamal Musiala to succeed Pedri in both the Kopa Trophy as well as Tuttosport’s Golden Boy, where he leads the most recent count of votes. If he is successful, Camavinga could make history, as no Real Madrid has ever been named the Golden Boy. Vinicius came close in 2018, finishing fifth, but his growth since then means he is now looking at acknowledgement at a senior level. While Benzema was voted the best in the Champions League, Vinicius picked up the award for the Best Youngster during the last edition, which he rounded off by hitting the winner in the final. In the Ballon d’Or, he hopes to make it onto the podium, thanks to his 22 goals, 16 assists and four forced penalties in the year he consolidated his place among the elite.
All will be revealed soon. On 25 August, UEFA will announce if Benzema or Courtois beat De Bruyne at the Haliç Congress Center in Istanbul and if, as expected, Ancelotti completes the double by being proclaimed the Coach of the Year. Again, Madrid’s Champions League and LaLiga successes make him the undisputed favorite ahead of Guardiola and Klopp.
The next date is 17 October, when the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris will be decked out to deliver the Ballon d’Or, the Yashin and the Kopa trophies. Meanwhile, The Best gala, where Carletto will start with the most arguments to be voted the best coach, will be held on 17 January, giving greater importance to what happens in these first few months of competition and with the conditioning factor that the Qatar World Cup will take place halfway through the season.
Benzema and Camavinga can repeat what was achieved by Barcelona’s Ronaldinho and Messi in 2005 and Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Anderson in 2008, with the Ballon d’Or and the Golden Boy going to the same club in the same year. The rest of the awards have been appearing or changing their nomenclature but since the existence of all of them, there has never been such a coincidence. So, if Madrid achieved the feat, it would be the first time a team has achieved such a monopoly.