Lionel Messi claims concerning record seventh Ballon d’Or labelled bull****
Six-time winner Messi already holds the record for the most individual Ballon d’Or triumphs, and the Paris Saint-Germain forward is among the favourites for the 2021 award
The name Lionel Messi has become synonymous with the Ballon d’Or ever since the Argentine forward won the award for the first time in 2009.
Messi made it onto the podium for 11 straight years, from 2007 to 2017, and was also victorious when the award was last handed out in 2019.
The former Barcelona man has been nominated again in 2021, after no Ballon d’Or was awarded last year, with his exploits for club and country ensuring he remains one of the favourites to secure a record-extending seventh trophy.
There have even been suggestions that Messi’s success is already confirmed, but those involved in giving out the award have responded to unconfirmed reports about its destination ahead of the ceremony at the end of November.
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Messi scored 28 goals for Barcelona between January and May, finishing his final season at Camp Nou with 38 in all competitions before making a summer move to Paris Saint-Germain.
He also captained Argentina to Copa America glory, the first time he has won the competition after three previous defeats in the final, and top-scored in the tournament with four goals.
However, with European champions and title winners competing with him for this year’s Ballon d’Or, nothing is guaranteed.
The Ballon d’Or is awarded by France Football magazine, with a jury of more than 50 journalists voting for the winner.
Pascal Ferre, who edits the magazine spoke to German publication Bild to address claims Messi had already been confirmed as the 2021 winner.
“That’s a lot of bull**** we’ve seen in the past ten days. A big bluff,” Ferre insisted.
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While votes for this year’s Ballon d’Or have been cast, the winner has yet to be determined, according to Ferre.
Other frontrunners include Robert Lewandowski, who has scored 82 goals for Bayern Munich and Poland since the start of the 2020-21 season, and current Premier League top scorer Mohamed Salah.
Action Images via Reuters)
Former Ballon d’Or winner Rivaldo considers this year’s award to be a three horse race, with Lewandowski and Salah challenging Messi for top honours.
Since 2008, the only player other than Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to claim the award is 2018 winner Luka Modric.
The 2021 Ballon d’Or winner will be announced at a ceremony in Paris on November 29.