Lionel Messi wins 2021 Ballon d'Or, his seventh trophy in his career to date.

Seventh Heaven: Lionel Messi wins 2021 Ballon d’Or award

Lionel Messi has been dubbed the winner of the 2021 Ballon d’Or award for the seventh time in his career to date, now two honorary titles clear of rival Cristiano Ronaldo. 

The Argentinian bagged 41 goals and 17 assists in 56 games, aided in Barcelona’s journey to Copa del Rey glory back in April, and also landed his first senior trophy with his country at the 2021 Copa America, where he was also named Player of the Tournament. It’s undeniable that Messi has had a remarkable year, but who were the other contenders that came close to winning the prestigious award?

The name on everyone’s mind since the award ceremony on Monday night has to be Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski, who was favourite to win the award last year that was scrapped due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He ranked a close second behind Messi this year, just 33 points separating the two.

The 33-year-old bagged a total of 64 goals and 9 assists in 54 games, hailed Bundesliga and DFL Supercup winner, while also eclipsing the legendary Gerd Miller’s 40-goal German record, scoring 41 goals in 29 games. He was the favourite to win last year, and he was a highly ranked favourite to win this year, so it was a shock to most when he didn’t. There’s no denying that Messi is one of the greatest to ever do it, but was there one more deserving?

Ranked third was Chelsea midfielder Jorginho, though he can’t match the statistical likings of Messi or Lewandowski, the Italian played an important role in his club and country’s European glory in 2021, winning the Champions League and European Championships respectively.

Karim Benzema was also another favourite to bag the award, with 44 goal involvements in 43 games for Real Madrid, and nine goals and two assists plus a Nations League title with France, the 33-year-old was, and definitely still is, a force to be reckoned with.

Other names in the mix include Ronaldo, Salah, Mbappe, Kante, and many more.

It was no doubt that this year’s Ballon d’Or ceremony was a controversial one, with even Messi recognising his other top contender Lewandowski, “I think that you deserve your Ballon d'Or," Messi said. "Last year everyone was in agreement that you were the winner and I think that France Football should give you the Ballon d'Or that you deserve.” 

Nevertheless, it’s safe to say, we all have a huge amount of respect for Lionel Messi, his contribution on and off the pitch over the years has been next level and the Ballon d’Or is a testament to one of the GOATs. 

Full list of winners:

Men’s Ballon d’Or Top 10

  1. Lionel Messi
  2. Robert Lewandowski
  3. Jorginho
  4. Karim Benzema
  5. N’Golo Kante
  6. Cristiano Ronaldo
  7. Mohamed Salah
  8. Kevin De Bruyne
  9. Kylian Mbappe
  10. Gianluigi Donnarumma 

Women’s Ballon d’Or Top 10

  1. Alexia Putellas
  2. Jennifer Hermoso
  3. Sam Kerr
  4. Vivianne Miedema
  5. Lieke Martens
  6. Christine Sinclair
  7. Pernille Harder 
  8. Ashley Lawrence
  9. Jessie Fleming 
  10. Fran Kirby 

Kopa Trophy (Top 3 - Youth players)

  1. Pedri
  2. Jude Bellingham
  3. Jamal Musiala

Yashin Trophy (Top 3 - Goalkeepers)

  1. Gianluigi Donnarumma 
  2. Edouard Mendy
  3. Jan Oblak 

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