At a ceremony in Paris on Monday evening, Lionel Messi was awarded the 2021 Ballon d’Or, his record seventh title.
Messi, 34, beat out Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski, Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema, and Chelsea’s Jorginho to win the award and move two points clear of five-time champion Cristiano Ronaldo, who was among the 30 players selected but did not make the top three for the first time in 11 years.
Despite finishing third in La Liga and falling in the first round of the Champions League, Messi was the favorite to win the award after winning the Copa America with Argentina earlier this year – his first major international trophy – and despite having one of his less impressive seasons at club level: Barcelona finished third in La Liga and lost in the first round of the Champions League. Messi, on the other hand, scored two goals in Barca’s Copa del Rey final victory and was once again La Liga’s top goalscorer before joining Paris Saint-Germain in the summer.
The newly established Striker of the Year title went Robert Lewandowski as a consolation medal, while the Women’s Ballon d’Or went to Barcelona captain Alexia Putellas.
More accolades were given to Gianluigi Donnarumma for the Yashin Trophy for best goalkeeper, Pedri, a Barcelona midfielder, for the Kopa Trophy, and Chelsea for Club of the Year for their on-field successes with both men’s and women’s teams.
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