Lionel Messi once again carved his name in history by winning his seventh Ballon d’Or after a stellar 2021.
Facing Robert Lewandowski and Jorginho, the Paris Saint-Germain superstar was recognized for his exceptional achievements with Barcelona and Argentina.
The 34-year-old was a big favorite after winning the Copa America with Argentina earlier this year, despite one of his less impressive years at club level.
Barca finished third in La Liga and fell in the first knockout round of the Champions League.
However, Messi scored two goals as Barca won the Copa del Rey final and he was La Liga’s top scorer again, before moving to Paris this summer.
Robert Lewandowski took home the top “Forward of the Year” award, though that will likely be little consolation after failing to win in 2020 when the glitzy ceremony was scrapped.
There was drama even before the ceremony started, with Cristiano Ronaldo expressing his frustrations with a French journalist, who suggested his only career goal was to win more Ballon d’Or trophies than Messi.
“Today’s result explains Pascal Ferré’s statements last week, when he declared that I had confided to him that my only ambition was to end my career with more Ballon d’Or than Lionel Messi”, a posted Ronaldo on Instagram.
“Pascal Ferre lied, he used my name to promote himself and to promote the publication for which he works.
“It is unacceptable that the person responsible for the attribution of such a prestigious award could lie in this way, in an absolute disrespect for someone who has always respected France Football and the Ballon d’Or.
“The biggest ambition of my career is to win national and international titles for the clubs I represent and for the national team of my country.
“The biggest ambition of my career is to be a good example for all those who are or want to be professional footballers. The biggest ambition of my career is to leave my name written in gold letters in the history of world football.
Alexia Putella won the women’s award after scoring 37 goals and 37 assists to help Barcelona win the Champions League and La Liga Iberdola in 2021, while Pedri beat the competition of Jude Bellingham to win the Kopa award for best player of the world under the age of 21.
With every winner there must be losers and while Messi won big on the night his PSG teammate Kylian Mbappe didn’t seem impressed with his ninth place finish.
The French forward was caught on camera glancing disapprovingly at Messi alongside him as the result was declared, finishing just above Yashin Prize winner Gianluigi Donnarumma.
Here is the final top 10 in its entirety …
TOP 10 BALLON D’OR 2021
Here are the top 10 best players for 2021, as voted by players, managers and journalists …
- Lionel messi
- Robert lewandowski
- Karim Benzema
- N’Golo Kanté
- Cristiano Ronaldo
- Mohamed salah
- Kevin De Bruyne
- Kylian Mbappé
- Gianluigi Donnarumma