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Ballon d'Or 2021: Hit or Miss?

(The Athletic)

By. Mihir Kore

As this year's annual Ballon d’Or commenced, it came with multiple controversies as well as some new and innovative awards to make this ceremony more interesting. This was arguably the most controversial Ballon d’Or since 2003 with Pavel Nedved and 2018 with Luka Modric.

Awards Presented:

This year there were two new additions to the overall awards, Striker of the year and Best club of the year. These awards were both new and refreshing, instead of going the same direction as years prior. Then we have the Kopa Trophy which is given to the best young talent of the year, similar to the golden boy award. The Yashin Trophy, which is named after the Soviet goalkeeper, Lev Yashin, who is arguable the best goalkeeper the game has ever seen, which is for the best performing goalkeeper. Then we have, the Ballon d’Or Féminin, which is given to the best female player of the year and finally the Ballon d’Or which is given to the best men's player.


We started the ceremony with the Striker of the year award, which was won by none other than Robert Lewandowski (Poland and Bayern Munich) who is having a phenomenal year. This was then foreseen by the Kopa trophy won by Pedri González (Spain and Fc Barcelona) which was a great achievement for the youngster as he was on a different level the past year for Barcelona and played incredibly consistent for Spain at the 2020 Euro's as well. This was followed by the Ballon d’Or Féminin which was won by Alexia Putellas Segura (Spain and Fc Barcelona) who played far better than any female there was this year. Winning the treble with Fc Barcelona Women's team and scoring a handful of goals to secure her first of this award, making her the third female player to win this. The Yashin Trophy was then presented and given to Gianluigi Donnarumma (Italy and Paris Saint-Germain) who was the best player of the 2020 Euros and the winner as well with Italy who kept a great clean sheet record and had more than 92 shots saved. The best club award was then awarded and Chelsea FC took home the award due to their European success under new coach Tomas Tuchel. Winning the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Super cup and receiving the most nominees from any other club. The ceremony was then concluded with the men's Ballon d’Or award, and this year it was none other than Lionel Messi (Argentina and Paris Saint-Germain) who won his historic seventh Ballon d’Or making him the first and only player to achieve this feat. Breaking all records for Argentina and playing out of his skin domestically for Barca, he was the winner of this award.


As always it would not be a Ballon d’Or ceremony with the controversy surrounding the decisions. This year many people believed Edouard Mendy should have won the Yashin award as he was the best goalkeeper of the UEFA Champions League and claimed more clean sheets than Gianluigi Donnarumma. But the biggest controversy was with the men's Ballon d’Or awarding it to Lionel Messi. Many believed that it should have been awarded to Robert Lewandowski as he was the best player in 2020 but was not awarded the Ballon d’Or as it was cancelled due to the Covid 19 Pandemic. But even then Robert Lewandowski put in absolutely insane numbers this year as well, but Lionel Messi did win the Copa America and was the best player of the tournament on top of putting phenomenal numbers while doing so in all competitions.


As another year wraps up for football, the 2021 Ballon d’Or was as controversial as it was historic. Personally, I believe that France Football should have kept two awards, the 2020 Ballon d’Or and 2021. For now, we can hope to see Lewandowski here again next year and winning it, finally.


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