Argentine star Lionel Messi bagged his seventh Balon d’Or award after beating Polish Striker Robert Lewandowski by 33 points
Argentina and Paris Saint-Germain star Lionel Messi won his seventh Balon d’Or crown on Monday, beating the likes of Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski, Chelsea’s duo of Ngolo Kante and Jorginho, and Manchester United striker Cristiano Ronaldo.
However, this has sparked controversy, as footballers, fans, and even journalists have questioned the integrity of the award as they believe the award could have gone in a different direction.
Shortly after the ceremony, an Instagram account that goes under the handle cr7.0_lendario made some comments as to why Ronaldo deserved the award more than anyone else.
Whilst it was not Ronaldo’s words, the Portuguese star showed his agreement with the statements by replying with the post with “facts”, and a thumbs-up emoji.
“43 goals in the year, 6 goals in 5 games in this Champions League, all decisive and a guy who, regardless of age, continues to work miracles and is the guy who most impresses the world most often.
“They still put the guy in 6th… Do you really think that 5 guys did more than him in the year? Never.”
The account then added: “For Cristiano to win this prize, he has to be 300% unquestionable. It’s no use scoring the most beautiful bike of the year, being champion of everything by club, top scorer of everything and scoring a hat-trick in the World Cup, they still provide a way to take his prize.”
“With Messi, it’s the other way around. He can do a low-key season, way below, they’ll always find a way to favour him and give him the prize.”
However, Ronaldo wasn’t the only one who had a claim, as Chelsea and Liverpool’s coaches Thomas Tuchel and Jurgen Klopp expressed surprise that Lewandowski didn’t take home the coveted prize.
“I’m not sure about the award. You can always give it to Lionel Messi for the career he has had, the footballer he is,” Klopp said ahead of Liverpool’s clash against Everton.
“But if you don’t give it to Robert Lewandowksi this time, then it’s quite tricky to get it at all.”
Despite everyone’s sentiments, to have a clearer view of who deserved the award more, the players’ statistics need to be considered.
Here at Soccernet, we will break down some of the achievements of these players and their statistics.
The Portuguese hitman is already 36, but he is showing no sign of weakness. Ronaldo spent last season at Juventus, and it was a bitter-sweet experience for him, as despite Juventus having to rely on a final day glitch from Napoli to secure a spot in the Champions League, he still scored 36 goals and five assists in 45 games in all competitions.
This ensured that he finished as the top scorer in the Italian Serie A.
Despite Juventus’ early and disappointing ouster against FC Porto in the Champions League and their poor league finish, Ronaldo still claimed the Coppa Italia trophy with the Old Lady.
On the international stage, Ronaldo also suffered heartbreak as Portugal’s Euros defence ended with a painful loss to Belgium in the round of 16.
However, the deadly striker still scored five goals, including a brace against Hungary and France in the group stages.
The Polish striker was the most lethal striker in Europe’s top five leagues last season. The Bayern Munich man scored a whooping 41 Bundesliga goals, breaking Gerd Muller’s 49-year-old record of 40 goals in a season. He went on to score 47 in all competitions and had 13 assists to his name.
His efforts were crowned with success on the home front, as Bayern Munich won the Bundesliga, where he emerged and the MVP and the Club World Cup.
However, in the quarter-final of the Champions League where he was absent due to injury as Bayern lost to Paris Saint Germain.
Lewandowski’s presence could have been the game-changer for the Bavarians as they created a lot of chances, but they were not able to put them away.
On the international scene, it was also not all rosy for Lewandowski, as Poland crashed out in the group stage after managing just one point in a group that had Sweden, Spain and Slovakia.
However, he still scored three of Poland’s four goals in the competition.
The PSG man had a topsy turvy season with Barcelona, where he scored 30 goals in 35 La Liga appearances. In total, he had 38 goals and 18 assists in 48 appearances in all competitions.
His Barcelona side finished third in La Liga below Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid. It was also sore takes for the Argentine in the Champions League, as Barcelona were knocked out of the competition by PSG.
However, the disappointing season was salvaged with an emphatic Copa Del Rey triumph against Sevilla.
To add to his joy, the Argentine forward managed to get the critics off his back after he won the Copa America.
The Argentine scored four goals and made five assists to emerge as the top goalscorer, assist leader and MVP of the tournament.
Asides from the significance to Messi, it was also a big one for Argentina, as they had not celebrated major Silverware for over 27 years.
Who deserved it?
Of the three, Lewandowski scored the most goals last season, and whilst he and Messi had two major trophies to their names, Ronaldo won just one.
The argument could also be made that Ronaldo was in a weak Juventus side, which is visible this season.
But in the quarter-final of the Champions League, where Lewandowski was not available, Bayern struggled to tuck in their chances- which is proof of Lewandowski’s importance.
Although Messi won the award, Lewandowski has the best statistics in terms of goals involvement, and as such, he deserved the award. Or do you think Ronaldo deserved it?
Do share your comments below.