Fans of football will have heard of the Ballon d’Or before as it is arguably one of the most prestigious prizes a player can win other than the World Cup. Winning this trophy is less of a team prize but an individual one, as it means that that player is the best football player in the world, something that no player is going to sniff at. Most people will know that Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are considered to be among the best players ever to grace the game, so the competition has traditionally revolved around these two players though other players have snuck in and won it over the years too.
However, many will know that last year, Polish striker Robert Lewandowski was clearly the best player in the world and his stats throughout this season border on phenomenal. He hit the ball into the back of the net an astonishing 55 times and even won the treble with Bayern Munich. Undoubtably, the treble is one of the greatest accomplishments that any domestic club can achieve, so it is clear to see why the footballing world was stunned to see Lewandowski go home with empty hands. Thanks to recent world events, the 2020 Ballon d’Or was scrapped, making it so that Lewandowski was robbed once.
The second time happened more recently as the 2021 Ballon D’Or was awarded to Messi over Lewandowski. The fact that Lewandowski had been denied a second time was too much to bear for his fans and even fans of football in general. His accomplishments seem so obvious to any observer of the sport, and yet he came second to Messi with 580 votes to Messi’s 613. This has raised claims that the Ballon d’Or is not an actual contest of footballing skill and the achievements that some players may have got but is in actual fact a popularity contest.
Looking at the reasoning behind Messi’s win, it is hard to believe that this is not true. The only great thing that Messi had accomplished recently is winning the Copa America. Yes, this is something that Argentina had not won since 1993 and yes, it is something that Messi has always wanted. But winning one cup is not equal to winning three, which is exactly what Lewandowski did. In addition to this, Lewandowski also scored far more goals than Messi, emphasising the individual skill which the competition is supposed to be examining.
The Ballon d’Or is a staple of football in that it runs every year and every fan in the world looks forward to seeing who will win the best individual prize in football that year. It is also a great opportunity for bettors eager to win some money to cast their predictions on who could end up winning the coveted prize. However, the most recent Ballon d’Or events have shown that they can be unreliable to gamble on, which is why some players might be interested in playing at casinos instead. The legality of this will depend on the region but you can find the current info here for those who want to win money.
After this Ballon d’Or, fans will likely look differently on the competition from now on and will be hoping that Lewandowski eventually gets the credit he deserves.