Lionel Messi or the force of habit

A Golden Ball at home. Monday evening at the Châtelet theater in Paris, Lionel Messi came to collect as a neighbor and in a sparkling costume a seventh Ballon d’Or.

Evil tongues will say that this is his most notable action since his surprise arrival at Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) in August. At 34, the Argentinian removes the threat represented by Cristiano Ronaldo (five-time winner), who fell from the podium for the first time since 2006 with his sixth place.

Read also Golden Ball 2021: Lionel Messi awarded for the seventh time

Leo or Cristiano? Cristiano or Leo? Since 2008, this duel Beatles or Stones of football vampirizes a trophy which we do not know any more if it rewards the best player of the year or the best player itself. In 2018, Lukas Modric, was never an exception confirming the boring rule at the end.

This victory, the person concerned knows that he did not win it on the lawns of Ligue 1 on which he walks too little his talent despite three assists, Sunday, under the snow of Saint-Etienne. He did not win it either during his last months at FC Barcelona despite statistics more in line with his standards. “I think I got this trophy for what we managed to do at the Copa America”, estimated the winner.

Lucid. Messi measures the emotional and symbolic importance of this first title with Argentina (apart from his gold medal at the Olympic Games in 2008), he who was seen, in the country of Maradona, as an “adopted” child from Catalonia rather than a kid from Rosario, his hometown.

Obviously, the story was too good in the minds of the 180 voters and took precedence over the rest. Messi’s failed debut at PSG? Not serious. No more than the XXL seasons of Robert Lewandowski and Karim Benzema individually or the Champions League-Euro double of Jorginho. Third, the Italian could have won the prize in the name of the criterion of the prize list, but his profile of defensive midfielder was not the right one against the force of habit that is the Messi vote.

Messi asks for a Golden Ball for his runner-up

Like a Virgil van Dijk in 2019, Robert Lewandowski fell victim to this keyboard shortcut: best player = Messi. Despite the disappointment, the Pole honored the ceremony with his presence unlike a Benzema, fourth, or a Ronaldo.

The Bayern Munich striker knew however that he was not the lucky one since the winner was warned ten days earlier. In a world without Covid-19, Lewandowski would have been sacred in 2020, but France Football (trophy organizer) had preferred to jump this year rather than add an asterisk “Trophy won in exceptional circumstances due to the Covid-19 health crisis. “

Aware of this small injustice, Lionel Messi asked that the oblivion be repaired one day. “I want to tell Robert [Lewandowski] that it is an honor to fight by your side. You deserved your Golden Ball last year. Everyone agreed. I hope we will give it to you and have it at home, because you deserve it. ” The person concerned seemed to appreciate these words of noble victor.

At 33, Lewandowski pays to be a general without a large national army (Poland was eliminated in the first round of the Euro) and to evolve in a club whose lobbying is not part of the house culture. Unlike Real Madrid or Barça, Bayern leaders balk at these electoral campaigns to place their champions. In Bavaria, the collective takes precedence, and Lewandowski is a star who shines just a little more than the others.

Messi brings his first Golden Ball to PSG. Wink of fate, George Weah won the trophy in 1995 as an AC Milan player after his transfer during the summer. Before that, the Liberian had freewheeled his Parisian adventure with a goal in the French league between January and May. One goal, which is Messi’s current total in Ligue 1.

Its new president, Nasser Al-Khelaïfi, found nothing to complain about on his side. Quite the contrary. “Like all our supporters around the world, we are delighted to see one of the greatest players of all time playing in the Red and Blue jersey”, commented “NAk”. This is also the strength and the magic of Messi. Even when he is no longer really the best, the still vivid memory of his genius is enough to make people believe the opposite. The others just have to wait their turn.

Alexia Putellas Women’s Golden Ball

At 27, the FC Barcelona midfielder succeeds Ada Hegerberg (2018) and Megan Rapinoe (2019). She is rewarded for her great season, she who achieved the championship-cup-Champions League treble with the Catalan club. ” This Ballon d’Or rewards many sacrifices. I had a passion for my sport and I thank my family for always being behind me. To be the first Barcelona woman to win this women’s trophy means a lot. I have the privilege of representing a lot of people. This is just the beginning »Declared the player. Putellas brings Spain its first Golden Ball since… 1960 and the victory of Luis Suarez, legendary Barça striker.

The Kopa award for the best player under 21 went to another FC Barcelona player: Pedri. The midfielder was the revelation of the Euro with Spain. Winner of this European Championship with Italy, Gianluigi Donnarumma (who moved from AC Milan to PSG this summer) won the Yachine trophy for best goalkeeper.