The football fraternity has been in a state of endless debates after France Football announced Argentine playmaker, Lionel Messi the winner of the 2021 Ballon d’Or Award.
Some Football stars believe the award is deserving of Messi, while others say Bayern Munich goal poacher, Robert Lewandowski deserves the 2021 Ballon d’Or award.
Messi scored 41 goals and registered 17 assists in 56 appearances in all competitions for club and country and led Argentina to Copa America win in the summer.
Lewandowski, who had another sensational year after last year’s award was not given due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Lewandowski came second place after accruing 580 points and earned praise from Messi in his acceptance speech.
Introduced in 1956, by Gabriel Hanot, a seasoned journalist, the Ballon d’Or has been handed out to the world’s best player – with journalists, coaches, and captains of national teams all voting.
Most football enthusiasts were expecting the 2021 Ballon d’Or prize to go to Lewandowski after his incredible goal-scoring form.
The 33-year old Poland international came second after scoring 38 goals in 30 league games for Bayern in 2021, in addition to winning the Bundesliga title.
Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos and club legend Iker Casillas have condemned the decision to hand Lionel Messi the 2021 Ballon d’Or.
Speaking on his podcast, Kroos said: ‘It’s absolutely not deserved.
“There is no doubt that Messi, with Cristiano, has been the player of the last decade, but this year there should’ve been others ahead of Lewandowski.”
Kroos said his top three were Real Madrid team-mate Karim Benzema, Lewandowski, and Jorginho.
Iker Casillas, Real Madrid legendary former goalkeeper also admitted the PSG star should not have won the 2021 Ballon d’Or prize.
“It is increasingly difficult for me to believe in football awards.
‘Messi is one of the best but you have to know who is the most outstanding player after the season. It’s not that hard,” Casillas added.
Meanwhile, former England and Barcelona striker, Gary Lineker has hailed Messi for his award and described him as a ‘truly extraordinary footballer’.
Gary Lineker tweeted: “It’s a magnificent seven. Congratulations to Lionel Messi on winning yet another Ballon d’Or.
“A truly extraordinary footballer and an absolute credit to the sport both on and off the pitch.”
Also, football fans vented their displeasure on social media insisting it should have gone to Lewandowski.
@KevCawood wrote: “I think Messi winning it this time shows how ridiculous the award has become. Lewandowski and Salah have been head and shoulders above Messi this year.
@redikki agreed, posting: ‘Wonderful footballer, possibly the greatest ever but time @francefootball to shake up the voting. How can #Lewandowski score so many goals over the last 24 months and not get recognized! Giving up on this award!’
@CalumClark13 commented: ‘Joke of decision, I know you’re a Barca man but this year and it being suspended last year stinks of corruption both Lewandowski and Salah were better players.”
In his acceptance speech, Messi acknowledged Lewandowski’s achievements over the past two years and said he did deserve the prize.
“You deserve your Ballon d’Or. Last year everyone agreed that you were the winner, ” Messi added.
“I think France Football should give you your Ballon d’Or. You have to have it in your house, ” Messi said.