ANKARA – The world in 2022 has seen some outstanding achievements of athletes who left their mark on the year.

Argentine football superstar and 2022 FIFA World Cup champion Lionel Messi, Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo, World Cup silver medalist Kylian Mbappe of France, Real Madrid's longtime French forward Karim Benzema, Spain's Rafael Nadal, and US basketball superstar Stephen Curry were among those who made a big impact in their respective fields throughout 2022.

Messi's historic World Cup win

In 2022 winter, Argentina's Messi led his national team to the World Cup triumph in Qatar which the South American nation had been waiting for 36 years.

Before 2022, Argentina have won the World Cup twice.

Messi, 35, won the only missing piece in his trophy room with the win against France, as he now owns every top-tier title, club, and international tournament, including the Copa America, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Super Cup, and FIFA Club World Cup.

On Dec. 18, Argentina beat France 4-2 on penalties to secure the World Cup.

After the historic win, Messi's Dec. 19 Instagram post titled "CHAMPIONS OF THE WORLD!!!!!!!" has received over 73 million likes -- the most likes a post has received so far on the social media platform.

Mbappe, who rallied France in the historic final against Argentina, scored eight goals in the tournament in Qatar to win the Golden Boot award.

But the 24-year-old returned home with a silver medal.

Mbappe, who won the 2018 World Cup, scored 12 goals in the tournament's history and now he has to score five more goals to beat German forward Miroslav Klose, who is still the record holder.

Having already retired from the game, Klose, the 2014 world champion, scored 16 goals in four editions (2002, 2006, 2010, and 2014) to be the World Cup's all-time top scorer.

Messi's biggest rival Ronaldo made history even though Portugal failed in the World Cup.

The Portuguese star became the all-time top scorer when his hat-trick on March 12 was enough to secure a 3-2 victory for Manchester United against Tottenham Hotspur.

The 37-year-old attacker had 807 career goals to break Austrian-Czech player Josef Bican's 805-goal record.

Benzema takes 1st Ballon d'Or

Real Madrid's French forward Karim Benzema won the 2022 men's Ballon d’Or award, edging Bayern Munich's Sadio Mane, and Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne, who came second and third in the overall rankings on Oct. 17.

Benzema, 35, took home the prestigious award after scoring 44 goals in 46 games as Real Madrid clinched the Spanish La Liga and Champions League trophies.

At the same award ceremony, Barcelona star Alexia Putellas won the women’s prize and became the first female to win back-to-back Ballon d’Or titles.

Separately on Nov. 9, Polish star Robert Lewandowski was awarded the European Golden Shoe, winning it back-to-back.

The 34-year-old scored 35 goals for his ex-club Bayern Munich in the 2021-22 German Bundesliga season to win the prestigious award for a second time.

Lewandowski is now playing for Barcelona.

Nadal makes history, Alcaraz world’s number 1 in tennis

Spain's Rafael Nadal won the 2022 French Open on June 5, sealing his record-extending 22nd Grand Slam title.

Serbian superstar Novak Djokovic has won 21 major titles.

Fifth-seed Nadal beat eight-seeded Casper Ruud from Norway 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 in the French Open final at Court Philippe-Chatrier.

Carlos Alcaraz won the 2022 US Open men's singles title on Sept. 11 by beating Ruud 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (7-1), and 6-3.

The Spanish sensation claimed his maiden Grand Slam title and the world no. 1 rank.

On Sept. 10, the US Open women's singles tennis title was claimed by top-seeded Iga Swiatek by beating fifth-seeded Ons Jabeur from Tunisia.

The 21-year-old Polish star defeated Jabeur in straight sets 6-2, 7-6 (7-5) to win her third Grand Slam title after French Open wins in 2020 and 2022.

The Wimbledon finalist, Jabeur, 28, played in back-to-back Grand Slam finals. She was the first Arab woman to appear in a US Open final.

Verstappen bags back-to-back F1 championships

Red Bull Racing driver Max Verstappen won the Japanese Grand Prix on Oct. 9 to clinch the 2022 Formula One title in Round 18 -- his second championship in a row.

Verstappen closed the season with 454 points while Ferrari's Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc finished with 308 and Red Bull's Mexican driver Sergio Perez with 305.

The 25-year-old Dutchman broke records for the most race wins (15) and the most points (454) in a single season in Formula 1.

The 22-round Formula 1 season ended on Nov. 20 in Abu Dhabi.

Curry leads Golden State Warriors to their 7th NBA title

Basketball superstar Curry led the Golden State Warriors to their seventh NBA title with a 103-90 victory in Game 6 of the 2022 finals against the Boston Celtics on June 16.

Curry, who scored 34 points, grabbed seven rebounds and had seven assists in the game, was named the Finals' Most Valuable Player (MVP) for the first time.

He averaged 31.2 points per game in the series and, with 2,974 career 3-pointers, surpassed Ray Allen to become the NBA all-time leader in made three-pointers in December 2021.

Curry, 34, made the most of 2022, as he also earned his bachelor’s degree in sociology at Davidson College in September, 16 years after his freshman year. (Anadolu)