On Monday, Argentine Lionel Messi won the 2021 Ballon d’Or, cementing his place as the world’s best male soccer player. Spaniard Alexia Putellas, of Barcelona, took home the women’s award – making it a pretty good night for Barcelona players, past and present.
Why Did Messi Win The Ballon d’Or?
Since joining Paris Saint-Germain this summer, Messi has endured a slight dip in end product – 1 goal and 3 assists in 7 appearances. But it seems the talismanic figure’s form at Barcelona last season – 30 goals and 9 assists in 35 appearances – was enough to see him over the line ahead of Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski and others.
While Messi is widely lauded as the best player in the world, the 34-year old’s victory on Monday was not received well by all. In particular, Toni Kroos of Real Madrid had some strong words in protest. The German believes his teammate Karim Benzema is more deserving. While the midfielder has a point, his perspective may be slightly biased as a fellow “blanco”.
For now, Messi seems to have a stranglehold on the top spot in men’s soccer. Until someone comes along with a truly extraordinary season, the Argentine phenom will likely remain the default victor. Manchester United striker Cristiano Ronaldo has previously stated that his goal is to equal his rival’s success, but at this rate, the Portuguese might be playing a long time.
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