The highly anticipated award ceremony for the 65th Golden Ball in the history of football took place last night. Award that over the decades has gone from time to time to the best talents on the planet, of every generation. With 41 goals, 17 assists, 1 Copa America and 1 Copa del Rey in 2021, Lionel Messi won the number seven Ballon d’Or of his career, an all-time record for a player.
The GOAL50 winner was almost single-handedly dragging his former Barcelona club into what would have been an unlikely Spanish La Liga title, instead stopping one step away from the title, before still winning the Player of the Tournament and Golden Boot awards. at the Copa America. His record of goals is slightly lower than that of Lewandowski, but the voters of the Ballon d’Or award also take into account a whole series of additional parameters such as, titles won, importance within the team, and career. in general. For all these reasons, Messi got it right over the Pole in one of the closest comparisons that have been seen in years.
Today we will also see together the other potential champions who were vying for the final victory, and who could undoubtedly prove to be good additions for our fantasy football team in Sorare.
With 45 goals and 22 assists, Kylian Mbappe won a UEFA Nations League, Coupe de France and Trophee des Champions in 2021. Kylian Mbappe initially looked the favorite after his memorable hat-trick for Paris Saint-Germain against Barcelona and another sensational Champions League performance against Bayern Munich. However, the star of France turned out to be one of the biggest disappointments of Euro 2020.
PSG’s Gianluigi Donnarumma was voted “Player of the Tournament” at Euro 2020, a key player in the success of Roberto Mancini’s team in the final victory over England. The Italian goalkeeper’s summer transfer to Paris Saint-Germain has not yet gone according to plan as he shares posts with Keylor Navas, but time is certainly on his side at 22.
With 17 goals and 18 assists in 2021, Neymar took home the French Cup and the Champions Trophy. Neymar’s dream of winning the Ballon d’Or – after another year of putting together some brilliant performances and several injuries – never really took off. Winning two national cups in a calendar year certainly does not suit the player who has recorded the most expensive transfer ever.
Chelsea’s Italian Jorginho finished third at this edition of the Ballon d’Or, with 9 goals, 3 assists and Euro 2020, Champions League and UEFA Super Cup victories. Right or wrong, Jorginho showed up at the Ballon d’Or ceremony as one of the favorites along with Lewandowski and Messi. Voted ‘UEFA Player of the Year’ it would be fair to point out that the Chelsea star has played well for both the club and the national team.
Teammate N’Golo Kante had the same national and Champions successes. Man of the Match in the Champions League final, N’Golo Kante showed himself in tears with the enormous joy of victory. Injuries have marked the French international over the past few years, but when he’s on the pitch there’s no one better than him in that position.
Another European champion with Chelsea is Mason Mount who scored 12 goals and 8 assists in 2021. His performances, particularly in the latter stages of Chelsea’s run to the Champions League final, have belied his lack of experience, and he has in fact reproduced the same great form at Euro 2020 as well. ‘Gold, but it’s unlikely to be the last.
Despite Romelu Lukaku is also now a player of Chelsea, in 2021 scored with the ‘ Inter 30 goals and 8 assists, winning the Serie A. The former Manchester United striker has been overflowing many times in the season in which Inter won the Scudetto, also being awarded as the “Player of the Season” of the Italian league.
An almost constant fixture at the Ballon d’Or, Cristiano Ronaldo, now a big part of the forward line at Manchester United. In 2021 he recorded 43 goals and 6 assists, an Italian Cup and an Italian Super Cup. Top scorer in Serie A and winner of the Golden Boot at Euro 2020, 2021 was another year full of personal successes for him. The fact that three of his last four coaches in the year have been sacked suggests that the teams he has played for have not been as successful. In any case, the five-time Golden Ball does not stop proving its ability to score great goals regularly.
Manchester City’s undisputed talent, Kevin de Bruyne, scored 14 goals and 16 assists in 2021, winning the Premier League as well as the Carabao Cup. Voted PFA Player of the Year for the second consecutive season after another major year in midfield for Manchester City, Kevin De Bruyne remains the quintessential playmaker of English, and possibly European, football. Injuries hampered him at Euro 2020, but he still produced some memorable moments that surely caught the eyes of the Ballon d’Or judges.
Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah scored 34 goals and 12 assists. Salah was one of the few Liverpool players whose form didn’t plummet during early 2021, and has now taken his game to even new heights after the summer break.
Harry Kane, captain of Tottenham and England in 2021 scored 41 goals and 7 assists. It was a particular year for Harry Kane, who finished as “the player with the most goals and most assists in the 2020-21 Premier League season”, also captaining England in the Euro 2020 final. Yet, still without a major trophy in his name, it seems that his career is, for the first time, starting to see a setback. We hope a new start awaits him with the new Lecce Spurs coach Antonio Conte.
The very disappointed Robert Lewandowski, with Bayern Munich and Poland in 2021, set an impressive record of 64 goals and 10 assists. He has won the Bundesliga, the Club World Cup and the DFL Super Cup. There is no doubt that Robert Lewandowski would have won the Ballon d’Or in 2020 if the edition had not been unexpectedly canceled by France Football due to the Covid-19 pandemic. So much so that a school of thought believed he was entitled to an automatic victory this year as compensation for the missed prize last year. The Bayern Munich champion certainly could not have done better to force Lionel Messi to a showdown, and despite his second place in the standings,made this edition one of the most contested ever. With the inevitable controversy of the next day.
Erling Haaland, Borussia Dortmund, scored 44 goals and 13 assists in 2021. The injury looked set to end Erling Haaland‘s football year sooner than expected, but his Champions League performances continued to frighten defenses across the continent throughout 2021. A Ballon d’Or future? It really seems inevitable at this point.
Giorgio Chiellini in 2021 won Euro 2020, the Italian Cup and the Super Cup, as if it were a beautiful swan song for a top-level defender, and captain of Italy. The veteran defender was immense throughout the tournament and, although he has since found himself falling into the pecking order at both club and international level, no one can take away these last moments of glory from the great Juventus flag.
Inter’s Nicolo Barella scored 6 goals and 13 assists in 2021, winning the latest editions of the European Championship and Serie A as a protagonist. Another who combined winning the Scudetto with the lifting of an international trophy, and who perhaps, with a better known name he could have been in a higher position in the ranking at the Ballon d’Or.
A mention also for Lautaro Martinez, who with Inter and Argentina scored 25 goals and seven assists in 2021, taking home both Copa America and Serie A. Lautaro Martinez could not have hoped for a better 2021, winning for the first time crucial goals for Inter after eleven years since the last scudetto of the treble. He also played an equally key role for Argentina, winning the coveted Copa America.