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Lionel Messi won the Ballon d’Or for the seventh time France Football, the most prestigious individual distinction awarded to a footballer, this November 29, 2021 in Paris. He beat the Pole Robert Lewandowski (2nd) and the Italian Jorginho (3rd). He is notably rewarded for having won the Copa America with the Argentina team. The 34-year-old striker, who left FC Barcelona in August, becomes in the process the first player of the sacred PSG.
And Lionel Messi’s successor for the Ballon d’Or is… Lionel Messi. Two years  after receiving this prestigious individual distinction under the colors of FC Barcelona, the 34-year-old striker recovered it on November 29, 2021 in Paris, the city of his new club.
In passing, he became the very first PSG player elected by the college of international journalists, which the magazine France Football meets every year.
A decisive coronation in Brazil
However, it is not his mixed performances with Paris Saint-Germain, since his arrival in France this summer, that have earned him the seventh time the Ballon d’Or (new record), after 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 , 2015 and 2019. Rather, it was his performances with Barça during the 2020-2021 season (38 goals in 47 matches) and especially Argentina’s coronation at the Copa America, on July 10, which weighed in votes.
Indeed, Lionel Messi had never played and scored so much in official competitions with Argentina as in 2021. Sixteen meetings and nine achievements set in motion by a victory on the ground of the neighbor and Brazilian rival. A Copa America 2021 in which the former Barcelona was elected best player and which allowed him to erase the failures in the final in 2007, 2015 and 2016.
The image of Messi lifting the trophy in the sky over Rio, at the legendary Maracana stadium, against Brazil’s Neymar (0-1), undoubtedly struck people. Just like his departure from Barça for France, after 17 professional seasons and thirty major titles won with the Spanish club.
Lewandowski, Jorginho and Benzema follow
In any case, this was enough for Lionel Messi to relegate the competition, he who has shared the Ballon d’Or with Cristiano Ronaldo since 2008, almost without stopping. Only the Croatian Luka Modric broke their hegemony in 2018.
The Polish Robert Lewandowski, who was the favorite for a 2020 edition finally canceled , no doubt dreamed of imitating Modric. His 64 goals scored in 2021, with Bayern Munich and Poland, were all arguments. And they were also rewarded during the ceremony with a special “Scorer of the year” trophy. But Bayern were eliminated in the quarter-finals of the 2020-2021 Champions League. And the Polish selection, it was released in the first round of Euro 2021. In short, the opposite of midfielder Jorginho, European champion with Italy and winner of the Champions League with Chelsea, but who is missing still grateful.
Karim Benzema, 4th in the ballot, was ejected in the round of 16 of the Euro with France. The striker has certainly been flawless since his return to Blue. For example, he carried his national team to victory in the League of Nations. Likewise, he has been imperial with Real Madrid for several months. But the Madrid training did not gain anything in 2021. And the legal troubles of Benzema have perhaps not always pleaded in his favor, in the minds of the 180 specialized journalists solicited by France Football… The person concerned did not in any case not made the trip to Paris for the gala evening.
Cristiano Ronaldo relegated
Another notable absence: that of Cristiano Ronaldo, 6th and out of the podium for the second time only since 2006. As in 2010, the Portuguese is not in the photo. Worse for him, he sees his great rival Messi move away from the winners of the Ballon d’Or (five against seven for the Argentine). The 36-year-old striker, who left Juventus Turin to return to Manchester United, can now only bet on The Best trophies, which will be awarded by FIFA on January 17, 2022, to hope for a mini revenge …
 The 2020 edition of the Ballon d’Or has been canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a first since the first edition in 1956.