01/12/2021; 9:20 AM By : Steven D. Thompson
The Ballon d’Or is regarded as perhaps, the most esteemed award in football. After the 2020 cancellation, the awards returned in 2021 with plenty of fanfare.
In a world that has become commercially driven, the award has become nothing more than a popularity contest. It still holds some sway for those who want to use the results as fodder for bar-room talk.
The award for many has lost taste, as it is for players who have scored the most goals, won the most trophies, and are the most commercially viable players. It has become a world that has no place for defenders and goalkeepers despite their best efforts.
While the criticisms of the award run deep and long, the award organisers remain unperturbed and seem to thrive on the controversies the award generates.
At the Ballon d’Or on Monday night, Lionel Messi emerged as the winner, just as the bookmakers predicted.
Without definite criteria for picking the best player, the award will continue as nothing more than a popularity contest. For the seventh time in his career, Lionel Messi wins the Ballon d'Or.
Lionel Messi had an underwhelming year at club level where he won the unfancied Copa del Rey but led Argentina to win Copa America earlier in the year. The Argentine also finished as the top scorer in La Liga. He has, however,d life in Ligue 1 underwhelmingly.
Lionel Messi also finished third with Barcelona in La Liga. He was hounded out of the Champions League with the Catalan side in the first knockout round 5-2 on aggregate by Paris Saint-Germain. The former Barcelona player managed five goals in the competition, with four coming from the penalty spot.
In winning the award, Messi received more votes than his competitors. Lewandowski, who scored more goals than any player in the top five leagues with 53, finished second on the poll. He also won the Bundesliga and the German Super Cup. Jorginho, who won the UEFA Champions League trophy, the Euros, UEFA Super Cup and was adjudged the UEFA Men's Player of the Year, finished third. Karim Benzema, N'golo Kante and Cristiano Ronaldo followed suit in that order.
Messi said during his speech that Lewandowski should have won the award last year and that he deserves his Ballon d’Or.
The award had previously gone to Messi in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, and 2019.
The award for the women’s award went to Alexia Putellas. 27-year-old Putellas was a vital cog in the wheel of success for FC Barcelona. She helped Barcelona to a treble-winning season. It includes the Champions League title, the Spanish league and the Spanish Cup.