DECRYPTAGE – If he struggles to find his marks at Paris Saint-Germain, the 34-year-old Argentinian international has not stolen his seventh Ballon d’Or.
Lionel Messi, seven extra! After 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2019, the 34-year-old Argentine legend inherits this Monday a seventh Golden Ball. It’s a record. In fact, Messi already appeared at the head of the biggest collection in the field with six trophies, one more than his eternal rival Cristiano Ronaldo and three more than any other footballer in history. Monstrous, like the career of the new number 30 of Paris Saint-Germain, whose list of records would be too tedious to list.
If the “Pulga” was consecrated once again this Monday, at the Théâtre du Chatelet, it is not, however, for his CV, but for his performances at the end of a year and a season that are still exceptional. The competition was fierce, however. In fact, no suitor stood out clearly. It must be said that Chelsea, winner of the Champions League, and the Italian selection which triumphed at Euro 2020, did not have a clearly identified leader but a collective of champions. There was, however, another point in common between the two teams: Jorginho. “He won the Champions League and the Euro. He amply deserves the Golden Ball, the opposite would seem strange to me», Indicated the Italian coach, Roberto Mancini, a few weeks ago. The midfielder from Brazil, however, does not have a “mouth” of Ballon d’Or, even if he has been one of the essential pawns of the coronation of these two teams in recent months. His record earned him the third step of the podium on Monday evening.
Statistics, Copa America and Copa America
In the end, three players were in contention, with solid arguments developed by their relatives. “Robert Lewandowski has to win this trophy, it’s not even worth discussing. No one plays as consistently as he currently plays in a club or national team», Declared Thomas Muller last Saturday about his teammate at Bayern Munich. Which Lewandowski, German champion with the “Rekordmeister” and author of a record 2020-21 season of 41 Bundesliga goals, continues to panic the counters in 2021-22 with already 30 goals in 26 matches, between his club and the Polish team. His statistics are staggering. Last but not least, the Polish goleador, not helped by the level of his national team at the Euro, should undoubtedly have been rewarded in 2020 … if the trophy had been awarded. “I think you would have won it last year. It was not possible with the pandemic but you deserve to have it at home», Declared the Argentinian superstar, addressing his Polish runner-up in a very classy manner.
Brilliant with Real Madrid and during his return to Blue, despite the failure of France at the Euro, Karim Benzema was also part of “very serious candidates“, Says Didier Deschamps, for”everything he has achieved this season in club and in the French team“. Unfortunately for the former Lyonnais, he can only claim a victory in the League of Nations. Light. Some would have imagined him on the podium, he finally had to settle for fourth place.
At the end of the 2020-21 financial year, Lionel Messi could boast of having participated in the conquest of the Copa del Rey under the colors of FC Barcelona that we will kindly qualify as average. With the title of top scorer in La Liga as a bonus. A record that took on another dimension in June, when the native of Rosario guided “his” Argentina national team to the Copa America title. All while beating the pawn of the Brazilian rival, in Brazil, excuse the little.
«I would have kept a strange feeling inside of me if I had finished my career without winning a title with my country», He said these last months, in the columns of France Football. It was indeed his very first major title with the Albiceleste, he who still won Olympic gold in 2008. In terms of numbers, Messi ended the season with 38 goals and 14 assists for the account. of Barça, before finishing top scorer (4) and passer (5) of the Copa America in selection. Solid. In another context, if Robert Lewandowski, Karim Benzema, Kylian Mbappé, Neymar Jr (PSG), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) or Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund) had won the Champions League in club or a major title with their selection, that might not have been enough. In 2021, yes.
“Winning the Copa América with his country, after so much that has happened to him in the selection …. Just for that, he deserves it. “
Angel Di Maria sur Lionel Messi
If this consecration to the Copa America has certainly tipped the scales in his favor, it is because Lionel Messi has waited a long, long time for it. “He has lived an important year in his career. Winning the Copa América with his country, after so much that has happened to him in the selection … Just for that, he deserves it», Swears the unofficial president of his fan club, his teammate at Paris Saint-Germain and Argentina team, Angel Di Maria, on RMC. Words stamped with the seal of love, but which undoubtedly guided a good number of voters. One thing is certain: the attribution of this Golden Ball to Lionel Andrés Messi Cuccitini is not scandalous and establishes a little more the place of the person concerned in the history of football.
It is up to him to write his name in capital letters in that of PSG, after a relatively anonymous start to the season when it comes to a six-fold Golden Ball. Above all, the ex-Barcelonan poses, so far, more problems than it brings solutions in the construction of a Parisian team still under construction. “My dream is to lift the Champions League once again, that’s what we’re going to try to doHe trumpeted at his first Parisian press conference in September. There is still work to do for that.