SAINTS legend Francis Benali is better than Superman.

He has beaten the superhero to be named Celebrity Fundraiser of the Year at the Just Giving awards.

The former Southampton defender Francis Benali won the award at the glamorous London event on Wednesday evening for his more than 1,000 mile run visiting 20 Premier League grounds around the UK.

But he faced stiff competition from Hollywood actor Henry Cavill, best known as Superman in the 2013 film Man of Steel, and also video blogger Tom Cassell.

Benali, 46, said: “The fact that Henry Cavill was there I thought there’s little or no chance I would win.

“When they said I had won it blew me away – I was humbled and honoured on behalf of everyone who made Benali’s Big Run possible.

“I said in my speech it’s not often someone gets the better of Superman.”

Daily Echo:

Francis Benali with Superman actor Henry Cavill

Attending the event With him was wife Karen, 45, who was also shocked he had beaten the Man of Steel.

She said: “We thought that because Superman was there he would win.

“When they did the drum roll and announced the winner I thought my heart was going to come out of my chest.

“Henry Cavill was a really nice guy and he gave Fran a hug, he was so gracious.”

So far Benali's raised £265,000 for Cancer Research UK, by running from Newcastle to St Mary’s and also through other fundraising.

He said: “St Mary’s was my favourite ground, not just because it is my hometown club but because it was the finish line as well.

“There were also a lot of grounds I had never been to as a player and some I had so it was nice to go back to them. I did have one issue with my knee because of the training I was doing and that came back to give me issues on the run.”

But his wife Karen said that nothing would stop him from completing his marathon journey.“If he had to crawl to St Mary’s I think he would have,” she said.

Benali hopes to raise £1 million pounds for the charity and is currently looking for his next fundraising challenge.