Lionel Messi picked up another Ballon d’Or to add to his collection in France after another year of showing why he is perhaps the best player to ever live. Following a move from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain, ending a 15-year association with Catalonia, the Argentine picked up his seventh Ballon d’Or in his new home, and with his influence growing with each passing game in a PSG shirt, he looks destined to win another golden ball before hanging his boots up, whilst potentially upsetting the football betting and picking up a first Champions League for the Parisians.
“It’s incredible to be here again,” he said at the ceremony: “Two years ago I thought it was the last time. People were starting to ask me when I was going to retire but now I’m here in Paris and very happy.
“I don’t know if it’s the best year of my life – I’ve had a long career – but it was a special one with the title with Argentina after the tough times and the criticism.”
As humble as he is brilliant, the Argentine was quick to praise runner up Robert Lewandowski. Many felt he should have won the 2020 award, which was cancelled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Polish striker won the Champions League and German treble with Bayern Munich and took his good form into the new year. “I wanted to say to Robert that it was an honour to go up against him, he deserved to win it last year,” Messi added.
Messi pipped Lewandowski and Jorginho to the award after bagging 40 goals in 49 games for an exceptionally ordinary Barcelona, earning a Copa del Ray in his final season at the Camp Nou. Messi almost singlehandedly carried that Barcelona side at times, but had to watch in frustration as Atlético Madrid picked up the title. Nonetheless, the Argentine performed valiantly despite his future being uncertain, and when his contract expired, he could say he gave his all for Ronald Koeman in his last year.
For all the good Messi did in a Barça shirt, it was his work in an Argentina shirt that really stole the headlines. The Copa América win over Brazil will be a moment that defines Messi and settles any debates that may have been had over him and Cristiano Ronaldo. Since the Euros win in 2016, the mention of international trophies had given Ronaldo the edge but with Messi evening the score, scoring four goals en-route, must surely settle all debates now. Almost singlehandedly at times, Messi proved to be the difference in the big games when in years gone by, he had been criticised.
With the World Cup around the corner, Messi will need to replicate his Argentina form for PSG on a more regular basis. Neymar’s injury will force more responsibility on his shoulders and while he may be struggling Infront of goal at times, having only found the back of the net once in Ligue 1 at the time of writing, Mauricio Pochettino’s side look destined to win the title according to football betting tips today, adding more silverware to Messi’s sizeable trophy cabinet.
There is also the small matter of the Champions League, a trophy Messi hasn’t won since 2015. If PSG are to deliver what they set out to win this season, the little magician will need to be on his best form and inspire a side that picked up plenty of winners over the summer including Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos and Gianluigi Donnarumma, who won the Euros with Italy this summer. The future looks bright for Messi and based on his accomplishments this year, you can never rule him out of winning an eight Ballon d’Or come next winter.