Following the 2022/23 UEFA Champions League group stage draw, European governing body UEFA announced the winners of the Player of the Year and Coach of the Year awards for the previous season.
Last year, Chelsea’s Jorginho won UEFA’s men’s Player of the Year award for 2020/21, while Barcelona’s Alexia Putellas won the award on the women’s side.
Karim Benzema was the frontrunner for the men’s award, and he took home the title, bringing him one step closer to his expected triumph in the prestigious Ballon d’Or on Oct. 17. The Real Madrid forward was incredible last season, scoring 42 goals between La Liga and the Champions League, leading his club to a famous double.
In past years, UEFA has also presented individual position-specific awards, with the Best Goalkeeper, Best Defender, Best Midfielder, and Best Forward recognized. However, UEFA confirmed to The Sporting News that those awards have been scrapped. It is not immediately clear whether those awards have been eliminated permanently or just for this season.
The Sporting News brings you all the information ahead of the awards ceremony in the aftermath of the Champions League group stage draw on Thursday, August 25.
UEFA Player of the Year award 2021/22
There are three nominees for the men’s and women’s Player of the Year honors.
UEFA Men’s Player of the Year: Karim Benzema
The Real Madrid striker was the runaway winner of this award, leading all Champions League scorers with 15 goals en route to another European title, giving him 42 goals total between the league and continental competitions.
With the World Cup coming and the French national team calling, Benzema is in top form. It’s expected that the 34-year-old will follow this award up with the Ballon d’Or, to be handed out in mid-October.
|Karim Benzema||Real Madrid||France|
|Thibaut Courtois||Real Madrid||Belgium|
|Kevin de Bruyne||Man City||Belgium|
Recent Men’s UEFA Player of the Year winners
|2019/20||Robert Lewandowski||Bayern Munich||Poland|
|2018/19||Virgil van Dijk||Liverpool||Netherlands|
|2017/18||Luka Modric||Real Madrid||Croatia|
|2016/17||Cristiano Ronaldo||Real Madrid||Portugal|
UEFA Women’s Player of the Year: Alexia Putellas
Before agonizingly going down with an ACL injury just before the Euro 2022 tournament, Alexia Putellas has risen to the top of the world football game. The defending Ballon d’Or winner, Putellas has pushed Barcelona to new heights.
She led Barcelona to the Champions League final this past summer, and scored 18 goals with 15 assists in La Liga last campaign while helping the Blaugrana to a runaway title.
Recent Women’s Player of the Year winners
UEFA Coach of the Year award 2021/22
Men’s Coach of the Year: Carlo Ancelotti
Leading Real Madrid to the club’s record 14th Champions League crown en route to a domestic & continental double, Carlo Ancelotti remains one of the best coaches in all of world football.
Ancelotti is the only coach in history to have won four Champions League titles, twice with AC Milan and now twice with Real Madrid. He also previously won the competition twice as a player with AC Milan.
Nicknamed “Don Carlo,” Ancelotti engineered a pair of incredible second-leg comebacks route to last year’s Champions League title, first downing PSG 3-2 on aggregate after falling behind 2-0 by halftime of the second leg, before sending Man City home 6-5 on aggregate after a 4-3 first-leg loss.
|Carlo Ancelotti||Real Madrid||Italy|
|Pep Guardiola||Man City||Spain|
|2020/21||Thomas Tuchel||PSG & Chelsea||Germany|
|2019/20||Hansi Flick||Bayern Munich||Germany|
|2015/16||Claudio Ranieri||Leicester City||Italy|
The Men’s Coach of the Year award was previously known as the European Football Coach of the Season award, which ceased to exist in 2016. The award was revived in 2020 for the UEFA Best Of awards.
Women’s Coach of the Year: Sarina Wiegman
The coach of the England national team, Sarina Wiegman wins this year’s Coach of the Year award. The 52-year-old only joined the national side in November, and led England to the Euro 2022 crown. She has yet to lose a single match with England, with 18 wins and two draws.
A former midfielder for the UNC Tar Heels and owning 99 caps for the Dutch national team, Wiegman took charge of the Netherlands for four years before joining England.
UEFA Goal of the Year award 2021/22
UEFA has a technical committee that picks the 10 best goals of the season across all UEFA league and cup competitions.
Once the 10-goal shortlist is created, UEFA’s Goal of the Year award is then split into two awards. One is selected by the technical committee, while another is voted on by the fans.
2021/22 Best Goal Nominees (watch the goals here)
|Karim Benzema||Real Madrid||Apr. 6, 2022||Chelsea|
|Vinicius, Jr.||Real Madrid||Oct. 19, 2021||Shakhtar Donetsk|
|Kylian Mbappe||PSG||Feb. 15, 2022||Real Madrid|
|Robert Lewandowski||Bayern Munich||Nov. 23, 2021||Dynamo Kyiv|
|Marco Asensio||Real Madrid||Dec. 7, 2021||Inter|
|Alex Telles||Man United||Sept. 29, 2021||Villarreal|
|Sebastien Thill||Sheriff Tiraspol||Sept. 28, 2021||Real Madrid|
|Rodrygo||Real Madrid||Apr. 12, 2022||Chelsea|
|Lionel Messi||PSG||Sept. 28, 2021||Man City|
|Thiago||Liverpool||Nov. 24, 2021||Porto|
Technical Observers Goal of the Year: Karim Benzema 1st goal vs. Chelsea , Apr. 6, 2022