The annual Ballon d’Or awards are never without some kind of controversy.
With so many different categories and so much passion around the sport it is only natural.
When the 2022 Ballon d’Or awards were announced in October of that year, there was one particular award that caused a lot of head-scratching.
Why did Manchester City win the Club of the Year award?
Let’s find out…
Why Did Manchester City Win Club Of The Year?
Manchester City was named Club of the Year ahead of Real Madrid at the 2022 Ballon d’Or awards as they had more nominees for the individual Ballon d’Or awards than Real Madrid. The club as a whole also enjoyed considerable success in the 2021-22 season with its various teams winning five major competitions.
The Ballon d’Or Awards 2022
The 2022 Ballon d’Or awards were announced in the elegant surroundings of the Théâtre du Châtelet, a theatre and opera house in Paris.
The results for the best player in the world were relatively uncontroversial.
The winner for the first time was Karim Benzema.
At the age of 34 the French striker had enjoyed his best-ever season, scoring 44 goals in 46 games for Real Madrid and helping them to win La Liga at a canter, and also to collect a record 14th Champions League title.
And that goes a long way to explaining the controversy around Manchester City being named club of the year.
Many people expected it to be Real Madrid.
So why wasn’t it?
Real Madrid v Manchester City
First of all, let’s take a quick look at the respective team’s seasons in 2021/22:
- League: 1st in La Liga with 86 points, 13 points clear of 2nd placed Barcelona.
Record of P38, W26, D8, L4. GF80 GA31. Pts 86.
- Copa del Rey: Knocked out in Quarter-Finals.
- Supercopa de Espana: Winners
- Champions League: Winners.
- League: 1st in Premier League with 93 points, 1 point clear of 2nd placed Liverpool.
Record of P38, W29, D6, L3. GF99, GA26. Pts 93.
- FA Cup: Knocked out in Semi-Finals.
- League Cup: Knocked out in Third Round.
- Champions League: Knocked out in Semi-Finals.
Both were pretty impressive seasons, but you would think that with Real Madrid knocking City out in the Champions League Semi-Finals they would be named Club of the Year.
But if you were watching the ceremony, just before the top three nominees were announced, the presenters explained how the Club of the Year award is decided.
It is simply the club with the most individual Ballon d’Or nominations, across all gender and categories.
And this is how it panned out for City and Real Madrid:
|Manchester City||Real Madrid|
|Men’s nominees||Kevin De Bruyne (3)|
Riyad Mahrez (12)
Bernardo Silva (22)
Phil Foden (22)
Joao Cancelo (25)
|Karim Benzema (1)|
Thibaut Courtois (7)
Vinicius Junior (8)
Luka Modric (9)
|Women’s nominees||Lucy Bronze (10)|
|Goalkeeper of the Year||Ederson (3)||Thibaut Courtois (1)|
|(Finishing position in brackets)|
So as you can see City had seven nominations to Real Madrid’s six, hence why they were named Club of the Year.
A Successful Club
It should also be remembered that beyond the Manchester City first team, the whole club had an extremely successful season in the 2021-22 season:
Manchester City Women finished 3rd in WSL and won the League Cup and were runners-up in the FA Cup.
The club’s Elite Development Squad won a second successive Premier League 2 title, and its U18s won both the U18 Premier League North and National titles.
So all things being taken into consideration, maybe it shouldn’t be so surprising Manchester City was named Club of the Year at the 2022 Ballon d’Or awards.
The award is named Club of the Year, and that means the entirety of the football setup.
So whilst City might not have won the Champions League as Real Madrid did, they did outperform them in their own domestic league and see their women and youth sides have considerable success as well.
On top of that Manchester City had more nominees for the individual Ballon d’Or awards, than Real Madrid.
All of those factors explain why Manchester City was named Club of the Year in 2022.