- Messi outruns Lewandowski to win his 7th Ballon d’Or at the 65th Ballon d’Or ceremony
- The Ballon d’Or scoring system focuses on major titles won (country/clubs) along with other factors like the player’s advocacy of fair play, his talent and overall career.
- Real Madrid midfielder Tony Kroos seemed unhappy with the Messi winning the trophy. Kroos stated that Ronaldo was more deserving of the trophy than Messi, although his first pick would be Karim Benzema.
Paris Saint-Germain forward, Lionel Messi acquired his 7th Ballon d’Or beating Bayern Munich striker, Robert Lewandowski with merely 33 points. Messi scored 613 points in total in contrast to Lewandowski who stood at 580. Third, in line was Chelsea midfielder, Jorginho with 460 points followed by Madrid striker, Karim Benzema with 239 points.
Following the cancellation of the Ballon d’Or awards for 2020, it was anticipated that Robert Lewandowski would climb his way to the top and compensate for the lost opportunity in 2021. However, it was PSG star, Messi who swept the crown breaking a self-record of maximum golden balls.
The Decision-Making Process in Ballon d’Or
At the outset, France Football, the French weekly publication narrows down the list of potential candidates to 30. Following this, top journalists are invited from across the globe. Each of them elects the best five players in their opinion.
Six points are awarded to the top player. The remaining are awarded four, three, two, one depending on their positions respectively. There are three criteria focused upon by the selection panel. The primary focus is on individual and collective performances including titles acquired for the corresponding clubs or countries. Additionally, the jury pays attention to the player’s talent and if the player advocates fair play in the football world.
Finally, they take into consideration the overall career of the players. Aggregate points collected by each player determines the winner.
Messi experienced numerous near misses on the international platforms. Suffering defeat at the hands of Germany in the 2014 World Cup held in Brazil and making it to three finals of Copa America only to plummet at the last hurdle, had become the portrayal of his international career.
This phase stretched till 2021 when he eventually won the Copa America by defeating Brazil. Messi was pronounced player of the tournament for the four goals that he scored. The season culminated with 41 goals and 17 assists from the Argentinian and apparently, that sufficed his seventh Ballon d’Or crown. Furthermore, he also clinched the Copa Del Rey for Barcelona enabling the Catalonians to secure the third spot in La Liga.
2014 World Cup winner, Tony Kroos seemed dissatisfied with the decision of Messi winning the trophy. The Real Madrid midfielder drew attention to Karim Benzema’s 2021 performance. He opinionated that his first choice would have Benzema considering his exceptional performance over the last year.
He also spoke of Cristiano Ronaldo, who occupies sixth place with 186 points in the Ballon d’Or ranking. Kroos said that it is fascinating to witness Cristiano score innumerable decisive goals lately and if Manchester United are still in the Champions League race, he is to be credited for the same. Though he congratulated Messi on the win, he stated that in his perspective, Ronaldo came before Messi.
Karim Benzema is presently in the prime form of his career as evident from his 30 goals and 9 assists in 2021. Adding feathers to his cap, he won the UEFA Nations League with France in which he played a significant role and scored some crucial goals for the team.