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When Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema took home the men’s Ballon d’Or trophy Monday evening after being voted the world’s best footballer, his club and Adidas were ready to celebrate. Latex Balloons For Party
Shortly after Monday’s ceremony, Adidas and Real Madrid unveiled a special edition kit celebrating the win. It’s Real Madrid’s white 2022-23 home kit, but with special gold lettering on the back, along with Benzema’s number 9 in gold and made up of photos of the French striker since he joined the club in 2009.
The number on the jersey is scannable using a Smart Reader app developed by Avery Dennison, the company that manufactures name and number graphics for some of European football’s biggest leagues and clubs. Fans can scan the image in the numbers to unlock Benzema highlights.
Adidas also released a special edition of their X Speedportal boots celebrating Benzema’s win. They’re mostly white, with a pattern of swirling gold lines. The sole fades from white at the toe to metallic gold at the heel. And printing on the insoles celebrates Benzema and Real Madrid winning the La Liga and UEFA Champions League titles last season. The plastic tips at the ends of the laces — known as “aglets” — feature the French flag.
Much of Adidas’s promotional material around Benzema’s win Monday featured the 34-year-old striker wearing gold bandage tape on his right hand. Benzema first started wearing a bandage in January 2019 after breaking his right pinky finger in a game against Real Betis. Since then, it’s become a trademark look for him. But Benzema says it’s not just superstition or an aesthetic choice; according to AS, he has re-injured the finger but doesn’t want to have surgery on it and miss any playing time.
There are photos circulating around the internet of gold bandage tape in an Adidas box, but it’s unclear if Benzema will wear it in a game or if it will be available for sale to the general public.
Prior to Benzema’s win on Monday, either Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi had won 12 of the past 13 men’s Ballons d’Or (Luka Modric won in 2018), and at least one of the two had been in the top three in voting every year since 2007. Ronaldo finished 20th this year, while Messi — the 2021 winner — didn’t even make the 30-man shortlist.
Latex Balloons FC Barcelona Femení midfielder Alexia Putellas took home the women’s Ballon d’Or on Monday, her second straight win. Barça midfielder Gavi won the Kopa Trophy as the best men’s player under 21, while Thibaut Courtois, Benzema’s teammate at Real Madrid, won the Yashin Trophy as the best men’s goalkeeper.