After being cancelled in 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Ballon d’Or awards returned last night (November 29) in Paris.
There were six awards up for grabs this year, including the newly introduced Striker of the Year and Club of the Year categories.
But the main event was, of course, the men and women’s 2021 Ballon d’Or.
Lionel Messi picked up a historic seventh Ballon d’Or trophy; a record that could withstand decades.
Before leaving FC Barcelona to join Paris Saint-Germain in the summer, Messi led his country Argentina to the Copa América title.
It was the 34-year-olds first major international honour for his homeland.
HERE IS THE WINNER!
SEVEN BALLON D’OR FOR LIONEL MESSI! #ballondor pic.twitter.com/U2SywJmruC
— Ballon d’Or #ballondor (@francefootball) November 29, 2021
“It is incredible to be here again,” said Messi, accepting his award.
“I really want to keep fighting for new challenges…I don’t know how long I have left, but I hope it will be a long time because I love football.”
The women’s Ballon d’Or was only introduced in 2018, boasting Lyon’s Ada Hegerberg – one of the best forwards in the game – and OL Reign’s Megan Rapinoe as previous winners.
This year was the turn of Spanish midfielder Alexia Putellas.
— Alexia Putellas (@alexiaputellas) November 29, 2021
FC Barcelona’s captain Putellas has been instrumental in the Catalan club’s domination of late.
And the 27-year-old was at the heart of the squad who completed the treble last season, topping it off with UEFA Champions League victory in a final that saw them dismantle Chelsea.
“I want to thank the club…Destiny wanted this to be on the day of its 122nd anniversary,” said Putellas.
“It is a privilege to play for Barça.”
And in keeping with FC Barcelona success, midfield starlet Pedri was the recipient of the Kopa Trophy after being voted the best performing u21 player following a standout Euros tournament.
PSG’s Gianluigi Donnarumma’s part in leading Italy to Euros 2020 glory in the summer helped secure the Yashin Trophy for Goalkeepr of the Year.
After narrowly missing out on the Ballon d’Or this year, Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski had to settle for newly introduced Striker of the Year award.
The second new award, Club of the Year, was earned by Chelsea FC after the men’s team stormed to UCL success and the women’s team cruised to the Women’s Super League title.
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