Yusuf Abdulbasit Hozaifah writes,
Lionel Andrés Messi Cuccitini, also known as Leo Messi and La Pulga Atomica – ‘The Atomic Flea’, is an Argentine professional footballer who plays a forward role for Ligue 1 giants, Paris Saint-Germain. He is also the captain of the Albiceleste, the Argentine national team. Lionel Messi was the favourite to claim a record seventh Ballon d’Or winner after leading Argentina to a Copa America triumph in July, but with competition from Robert Lewandowski, the best goalscorer of 2021.
A strong shortlist for the men’s award was unveiled in August, with Chelsea and Italy players featuring prominently after their respective European triumphs. The Argentine footballer, Lionel Messi, has now won the most Ballon d’Ors with seven wins in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2019, respectively. His major rival, Cristiano Ronaldo, who came sixth in the final rankings of the 2021 edition, has only won the award five times, also more than any other players except Messi, who now has 7 in total.
There was no Ballon d’Or winner in 2020 due to the covid-19 pandemic. PSG forward, Lionel Messi, was presented with the award on Monday night in Paris after another record-breaking 12 months; Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski – a favourite for the prize in 2020 before cancellation due to Covid – came second in the vote with Chelsea’s Jorginho in third. In 2021, Messi has a record of 41 goals, 17 assists and two trophies; Copa America & the Copa del Rey.
“I’m really proud to win the France Football Ballon d’Or once again,” Messi said. “It’s incredible to win it for the seventh time. I would like to thank my family, my friends and all the people who follow me and always support me because, without them, I couldn’t have done it”.
Lewandowski was nominated for the award again this year after he broke late Bayern legend Gerd Muller’s single-season Bundesliga goal record in May after he netted 41 league times last season, as well as winning the European Golden Shoe. Although Lewandowski didn’t win the biggest prize, he was named Striker of the Year at the ceremony and finished second to Messi on the final ballot.
Chelsea midfielder Jorginho was a likely winner of the award after winning last season’s Champions League with his club side before playing a crucial part in Italy’s triumph at Euro 2020. Barcelona’s midfielder and wonderkid, Pedri Gonzalez, won the Kopa Trophy as the world’s best young player, which comes just a week after he claimed the Golden Boy award for Europe’s best young player. PSG’s Gianluigi Donnarumma, a finalist for the Ballon d’Or best player, was named Goalkeeper of the year.
Barcelona’s Alexia Putellas has also been crowned 2021 Women’s Ballon d’Or winner, after beating Jennifer Hermoso and Sam Kerr, who cleared the 2nd and 3rd places, respectively. Putellas wins the award after leading Barcelona through a fantastic season in which they won three trophies. The 27-year-old played a huge role in Barcelona’s treble-winning season, often wearing the captain’s armband and contributing a lot to the team with goals and assists aplenty throughout the year.