It’s coming up to that time of year again when the so-called best player of the year is announced, and it seems that all of the usual suspects are in with a chance of taking the 2021 Ballon d’Or.
FIFA’s ‘The Best’ will continue to run alongside and separate from the Ballon d’Or, in some respects making a mockery of the individual gongs.
If a player has clearly been the best in the world over the course of the preceding 12 months, then both awards should have the same recipient.
However, tactical voting has often been the bane of such awards, as The Independent recalled back in 2015.
This year there shouldn’t be any doubt as to the winner. Paris Saint-Germain star, Lionel Messi, had a superb individual season at Barcelona, despite their troubles, and led them to an unexpected Copa del Rey title.
His goals and all-round excellence almost saw the Catalans take the La Liga title too, but his crowning glory was winning the Copa America with Argentina, a tournament in which he was arguably the best player throughout.
Suggestions that Cristiano Ronaldo should win another, perhaps just to draw him level with his nemesis, are wide of the mark, for he did little at Juventus to deserve it, and Robert Lewandowski shouldn’t be a recipient just because ‘someone else should win it.’
If the award is to retain any sort of credibility, then Messi has to make history with an unprecedented seventh Ballon d’Or.