Lionel Messi was awarded the 2021 Ballon d’Or on Monday, with voters determining his efforts in leading Argentina to the Copa America title, as well as carrying a poor Barcelona side to a Copa Del Rey crown, warranted a record seventh Ballon d’Or.
The decision has led to a predictable wave of criticism over what many see as an egregious snub of Bayern Munich and Poland striker Robert Lewandowski, who scored the most goals in Europe in 2021, and won another Bundesliga title along with a Club World Cup with Bayern.
For his part, Messi acknowledged that Lewandowski was a deserved choice to win the award in 2020, when France Football — which sponsors the award — decided against awarding the prize last year, when Lewandowski would have been the runaway choice after helping lead Bayern Munich to a sweep of every trophy it competed for.
Messi finished ahead of Lewandowski and Chelsea midfielder Jorginho, who finished third after helping the Blues win the UEFA Champions League and starred on Italy’s Euro-winning side. Karim Benzema finished fourth.
Lewandowski was a worthy contender in 2021, but the reality is much of the backlash over Messi’s win this year is a product of Lewandowski being kept from his deserved 2020 honor. If Lewandowski had received the award he deserved last year, there wouldn’t be nearly as much criticism over Messi securing the honor after leading Argentina to the first major international title of his national team career.
What did you think of Messi winning the 2021 Ballon d’Or? Feel he was the deserving winner, or do you think Lewandowski deserved it because of the 2020 snub?
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