On Monday night, the attention of the world was at the beautifully built Theatre du Chatelet in Paris, France, as the best footballers on planet earth were celebrated at the Ballon d’Or awards.
The award, which is organised by France Football, returned this year after it was postponed last year due to the coronavirus pandemic that disrupted the football calendar.
Like any other individual award, the award has always drawn controversy, and last night was no different. At the end of the event, Paris Saint Germain Star (PSG) Lionel Messi won the biggest prize as he claimed his seventh Ballon d’Or ahead of Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski and Chelsea’s Jorginho, who finished second and third, respectively.
Messi’s victory did not come as a surprise, though, as there had been rumours he would win. However, while it was not a surprise, it was a disgrace to see him win, and it only shows that the award has lost its credibility.
In a year where he failed to win the Champions League, La Liga or La Liga’s player of the year, he still managed to pick up the biggest individual prize in football.
Although Messi finally won the Copa America with Argentina, it still does not mean he should have won the award. This is because he did not have the best individual year.
Individual awards should be judged based on a player’s performance and not the team’s success, although that could also be used to separate the players if the contest is close.
This year, Lewandowski has been the best player, and he also has the trophies to back it up. The Poland striker has scored 64 goals in 53 games.
In contrast, Messi has only scored 41 goals in 54 matches. In fact, the Argentina captain has been a shadow of his former self since he joined PSG from Barcelona.
Yet, the voters keep pandering to him just because he is Messi. It is even more embarrassing considering Lewandowski should also have won it last year, but the award was postponed due to Covid-19.
It raises the question of whether the organisers would have postponed it if Messi had been the clear favourite.
Although international tournaments tend to swing votes, it should have been in favour of Jorginho, who played a key role in Italy’s Euro success and also won the Champions League with Chelsea.
Messi is a brilliant player and will go down as the greatest of his generation, but it is a shame to football that he won the Ballon d’Or award last night.