Lionel Messi wins historic seventh Ballon d'Or

By Sports Desk November 29, 2021

Lionel Messi has won a record-extending seventh Ballon d'Or after beating Robert Lewandowski to the most sought-after individual prize in football.

The Paris Saint-Germain star may have endured a somewhat slow start to life in France this season, but before that he was electric for Barcelona and Argentina.

It was surely his long-awaited first trophy success with La Albiceleste that gave Messi the edge over Bayern Munich striker Lewandowski. 

Messi captained Argentina to Copa America success in July, ending their 28-year drought in major international competitions.

 

At the Maracana – the scene of Argentina's 2014 World Cup final defeat to Germany – Messi helped Lionel Scaloni's men to a 1-0 win over bitter rivals and Copa hosts Brazil.

He had previously lost Copa finals in 2007, 2015 and 2016, briefly retiring after missing his penalty in the shootout that saw the trophy slip from their grasp in the latter.

Messi may not have had the decisive impact in this year's final, but over the course of the tournament he was deemed to have been the best player, scoring four goals and setting up another five – no one bettered him in either metric.

 

Lewandowski had been considered the favourite before then, partly due to breaking Gerd Muller's long-standing record of 40 goals in a single Bundesliga season.

The Poland striker looked likely to have won the award in 2020 before it was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But Messi's success in Brazil seemed to tip the scales in his favour, with the 34-year-old increasing his lead over Cristiano Ronaldo in the Ballon d'Or stakes, the Manchester United forward now two back on five after finishing sixth in the voting this time around.

Lewandowski did, however, win the inaugural Striker of the Year award.

Related items

  • Australian Open: Barty moves into final as fairy tale remains alive in Melbourne Australian Open: Barty moves into final as fairy tale remains alive in Melbourne

    Ash Barty continued her fairy-tale run at the Australian Open, crushing Madison Keys to become the first local woman to reach the singles final in 42 years.

    The two-time grand slam champion continued her impressive form at Melbourne Park with a 6-1 6-3 victory over Keys on Rod Laver Arena on Thursday.

    Barty, the world number one, became the first Australian woman to reach the singles final at the tournament since Wendy Turnbull in 1980.

    She can become the first to win the title since Chris O'Neil in 1978 when she faces either Danielle Collins or Iga Swiatek in Saturday's final, which she will undoubtedly start as favourite.

    Barty has dropped just 21 games on her way to the decider and the reigning Wimbledon champion was again ruthless against Keys, who lost her fourth grand slam semi-final in five such appearances.

    The 25-year-old Barty settled well and broke the Keys serve in the opening game.

    A powerful forehand created the opportunity before she delivered a cross-court winner off that wing to convert following a Keys drop shot.

    Barty only made two first serves in her opening two service games yet did not lose a point.

    Spurred on by a hopeful and enthusiastic home crowd, Barty's variety and depth – plus nine unforced errors in five games from Keys – helped her race into a 4-1 lead.

    Keys finally won a point against the Barty serve in the sixth game, the Australian forced to save a break point before sealing the opening set in 26 minutes courtesy of a forehand return winner down the line.

    The first real signs of nerves from Barty came in the fifth game of the second set, but she dug out a tough hold for 3-2.

    Keys had settled, but Barty grabbed the break she was after in the sixth game with back-to-back forehand winners.

    Barty looked calm throughout and that did not change as she served out the match in style, booking a spot in the final with a forehand winner.

    DATA SLAM: Brilliant Barty on verge of ending Aussie wait

    Barty has already ended one long wait – an Australian reaching the women's singles final at Melbourne Park.

    She is a win away from ending another by becoming the first Australian winner of the men's or women's singles title in 44 years.

    WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
    Barty – 20/13
    Keys – 8/24

    ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
    Barty – 5/0
    Keys – 1/1

    BREAK POINTS WON
    Barty – 4/6
    Keys – 0/2

  • Rumour Has It: Juventus set for talks to thrash out Vlahovic deal Rumour Has It: Juventus set for talks to thrash out Vlahovic deal

    Dusan Vlahovic has drawn interest from Juventus, Arsenal and Tottenham among others.

    The 21-year-old has 18 months remaining on his contract and Fiorentina are keen to maximise their profit on him.

    Vlahovic has netted 38 goals in the past 18 months in Serie A.

    TOP STORY – FRESH TALKS ON VLAHOVIC DEAL

    Juventus are set for fresh talks on Thursday on a deal to sign Fiorentina's Vlahovic, reports Fabrizio Romano.

    The Serbia striker has attracted plenty of interest but an agreement between the Bianconeri and Fiorentina is in place.

    The stumbling block is Vlahovic's final contract and agent's fees, with a deal potentially set to trigger Alvaro Morata's exit to Barcelona, although Romano claims there are no new talks on that.

     

    ROUND-UP

    - Goal claims that Barcelona are working on a plan to raise €100million (£83m) in funds to lure Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland to the Catalan club. The Blaugrana are determined to win the race to sign Haaland despite interest from wealthy giants Real MadridManchester City and Paris Saint-Germain.

    - Bayern Munich's 32-year-old forward Thomas Muller has drawn interest from Newcastle United and Everton as he approaches the final year of his contract, claims Sport Bild.

    - L'Equipe claims that Bruno Guimaraes had told Lyon he wants to join Newcastle after the Magpies tabled a bid.

    - The Sun reports that Manchester United have put their search for a new manager on hold as they consider whether to make Ralf Rangnick's stay permanent.

    - Staying at United, numerous reports in England suggest Jesse Lingard is angry with the club as their demands have put off Newcastle's attempt to sign the player on loan.

    - Ousmane Dembele wants to stay at Barcelona after all, according to Sport. The France international's representatives met with Barca boss Xavi this week.

    - Tottenham's Tanguy Ndombele is set to join Valencia on loan, reports Telefoot.

  • 'We'll see': Nash provides injury updates on Harden and Durant 'We'll see': Nash provides injury updates on Harden and Durant

    Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash has provided injury updates on James Harden and Kevin Durant after reports that the latter would be out until after the All-Star Game.

    Harden missed Wednesday's 124-118 loss to the Denver Nuggets with "hamstring tightness" while Durant has not played since spraining his MCL on January 15.

    The Nets did not provide a timeframe on Durant's return although ESPN claimed it would be between four and six weeks.

    ESPN also reporting this week that Durant would miss the All-Star Game scheduled for February 20 although Nash did not confirm that.

    "We'll re-evaluate in the next week or so," Nash said at the post-game news conference. "We’ll see how his rehab goes and what the re-evaluations tell us."

    Durant is currently averaging 29.3 points, 7.4 rebounds and 5.8 assists through 36 games this season.

    Harden has averaged 23.0 points, 8.1 rebounds and 10.1 assists this season, but is also averaging 37 minutes per game with the absences of Durant and Kyrie Irving impacting his on-court time.

    "I think we're all hopeful he'll play next game," Nash said about Harden with the Nets to play the Golden State Warriors on Saturday.

    "It's day to day, so we'll see. It's likely, probable and we're all very hopeful that he'll be ready to go."

    Cameron Thomas top scored with 25 points against the Nuggets, while Patty Mills impressed with 21 points, three rebounds and six assists.

    The defeat leaves the Nets with a 29-19 record having lost three in a row, slipping to fourth in the east.

    "Details. We're proud of the guys' effort, but details, we talked about them last night," Nash said.

    "Part of that, is we had some guys play together who've not played many minutes together over the last few years so there's some cohesion that is lacking and some understanding and familiarity lacking.

    "That's where we have to improve especially with guys out of the lineup."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.