Lionel Messi and Alexia Putellas win the 2021 Ballon d’Or awards

(Football news) Lionel Messi won his seventh men’s Ballon d’Or award last night after an incredible 12 months for both club and country. He was picked ahead of the likes of Robert Lewandowski from Bayern Munich and Chelsea midfielder Jorginho to be recognized as the best men’s footballer in the world. In the women’s category, 27 year old Barcelona and Spain midfielder Alexia Putellas won the women’s Ballon d’Or award for her contributions at the club, winning the Champions League as well as the Primera Division title. Putellas was the highest scoring midfielder in Europe last season with 26 goals in all competitions and was also awarded the UEFA's Women's Player of the Year and midfielder of the year.

After receiving his seventh men’s Ballon d’Or award, Lionel Messi said “I'm really proud to win the France Football Ballon d'Or once again, it's incredible to win it for the seventh time. I would like to thank my family, my friends and all the people who follow me and always support me, because without them I couldn't have done it". The 34 year old won the Copa America in July as Argentina defeated hosts Brazil in the finals with Messi winning the Golden Boot for registering four goals and five assists as well as winning the Playing of the Tournament award with Neymar. He also won the Copa del Rey with Barcelona, scoring 28 goals in 29 games in the process. The Argentine is now two ahead of his closest competitor Cristiano Ronaldo who has won the Ballon d’Or five times in his career so far. 

In an unfortunate series of circumstances, Robert Lewandowski missed out on the award last year after it was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Polish striker scored 38 goals in 30 matches for Bayern Munich in 2021 and finished in second place. Jorginho finished in third place after enjoying an exceptional year in which the midfielder won the Champions League and the Euro 2020. Chelsea was awarded the club of the year award for having the most players nominated across all categories.

In the women’s category, Barcelona and Spain midfielder Alexia Putellas was awarded the women’s Ballon d’Or award ahead of the likes of her teammate Jennifer Hermoso, Chelsea forward Sam Kerr and Arsenal’s striker Vivianne Miedema. Speaking through a translator, Putellas said “I'm very emotional, it's a very special moment. I would like to start by thanking all my team-mates, especially my current [Barcelona] team-mates. For me it's a collective success.” Only two others have won the women’s Ballon d’Or before Alexia Putellas with Norway striker Ada Hegerberg winning in 2018 and USA forward Megan Rapinoe in 2019. The awards were cancelled last year due to the pandemic.

Also read: Premier League: Chelsea held to a frustrating draw against Man Utd while Liverpool, Arsenal and City secure three points


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