For the record seventh time, Lionel Messi has won the Ballon d’Or – but many people believe Robert Lewandowski was the more deserving candidate on this occasion.

After yet another record-breaking year, PSG forward Lionel Messi was presented with the honour on Monday evening in Paris. Bayern Munich forward Robert Lewandowski, who was a frontrunner for the award in 2020 before it was cancelled, came in second, with Jorginho of Chelsea in third place.

Messi, sporting a sparkling dinner jacket, collected his seventh Ballon d’Or last night, two years after collecting his sixth at the last edition of the awards.

Last year’s award favourite, 33-year-old Robert Lewandowski, finished second after scoring an impressive 38 goals in just 30 league games for Bayern Munich throughout 2021.

Jorginho, meanwhile, placed third after an outstanding year in which he led Italy to victory at the postponed Euro 2020 after having won the Champions League with Chelsea just 6 weeks prior.

However, many football fans felt sympathy for Lewandowski, who had been the favourite to win the award last year before it was cancelled. People honestly felt that this year’s award belonged to the Polish striker. So, why did Messi win the 2021 Ballon d’Or?

How did Messi win the Ballon d’Or in 2021?

The fact that the 34-year-old concluded his lengthy wait for a major international prize by winning the Copa America with Argentina in July, when they defeated hosts Brazil in the final, was a major factor in the decision of this award.

In addition, he shared the Player of the Tournament award with teammate Neymar and was awarded the Golden Boot after scoring four goals and providing five assists.

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Just three months before this, Messi scored a brace in the Copa del Rey final to clinch his 34th and final title in Spain with Barcelona in a 4-0 triumph against Athletic Bilbao, and he concluded the La Liga campaign as the leading scorer with 30 goals.

It’s important to remember his performance for Barcelona during the first half of the season. In 29 appearances, he scored 28 goals, including two in a man-of-the-match performance to help Real Madrid win the Copa del Rey in April. Even if the squad was not at its best, he continued to impress.

Messi’s case has faded since relocating to Paris from Barcelona – and this is the argument many football fans are making – but he still produced an incredible solo goal against Manchester City, as well as scoring two more against RB Leipzig. He also recently had a hat-trick of assists in PSG’s 3-1 win over Saint Etienne.

Sympathies For Lewandowski

It’s reasonable to sympathise with Robert Lewandowski, who was a victim of the odd choice not to deliver an award in 2020. But the main reason to feel terrible for those individuals pursuing accolades is that they are doing so in Messi’s era.

But where do we draw the line with that? If it weren’t for the thousands of footballers that are better than me, maybe I could have made the England team in my lifetime. While I realistically had no hope, it was certainly a prime case of “So close, yet so far” for Mr Lewandowski.

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It felt a little like watching an episode of Friends when I saw him win the Ballon d’Or for the seventh time. We’ve seen this before, so let’s try something new.

Consistent brilliance, on the other hand, cannot be used against him. While Messi from a decade ago may have been a greater player than Messi now, there is still no better prospect than him in 2021, based on the facts and statistics.

Messi was the favourite approaching the ceremony, too, so the result wasn’t exactly a shock. Many punters will have made some decent profits betting on this result with the BONUSBETS Stake bonus code, so they’ll be happy regardless of who they’d have preferred to win.