In a rather bold and rather revealing article, MARCA, a popular Madrid-based newspaper, had some fascinating, and overwhelmingly positive, words for recent Copa America victor Lionel Messi.
In a piece on this year’s Ballon D’or, the newspaper said that the seventh prestigious award should be the Argentine’s to hold this year.
This is what they had to say:
“Forget everything else, the Ballon d’Or is Messi’s. As long as Messi plays at the top, there is no footballer out there who should win the Ballon d’Or. Messi is the greatest footballer of his generation, and probably also of all time.”
Despite the obvious bias, MARCA did acknowledge the achievements of two other Italian rivals, Georgio Chiellini and Jorginho, the Brazilian-born Azzurri, after both footballers came off a sensational European Championship victory in London against England in Wembley and were both equally pivotal to the success of the Italian national team.
With the exception of Emerson Palmieri, no single footballer bar Jorginho has won both the UEFA Champions League and the European Championships this year. Yet despite the Chelsea number 5’s silverware, it looks likely that Messi could well be set for his seventh Ballon d’Or award and twice in succession this year end.
MARCA then went on to say that despite leading the field with six, Messi deserved to have more than what he has at the moment, with the bold statement reading:
“That Cristiano Ronaldo – with five – is even within touching distance of Messi’s six so far does a disservice to the Argentine, who has been far and away the greatest player of his generation and arguably of all time.”
Should Messi emerge victorious this December, he will have been the second player in history to win two or more Ballon d’Or awards in a row twice in his career (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2019, 2020).
Although one could take the Spanish paper to task for their seemingly biased stand favoring Messi, it would be difficult to deny his yet again incredible performance on the pitch in all competitions last season. His excellent showings in the Copa America were certainly meritorious of another award on its own – being the player of the tournament, top goalscorer with four goals, including two sumptuous free-kicks, top assister with five, and most importantly, the eventual champion.
In Europe, despite coming off a decidedly roller coaster year with Barcelona, he still finished with 39 goals and 14 assists, with only Robert Lewandowski having scored more, but no individual has contributed to more goals than the Argentine.
MARCA ended the piece asserting that should he win a 7th, asserting that as long as he plays, he deserves more:
“It’s time that his superiority was made clear. It’s time for daylight to appear between Messi and Cristiano’s Ballon d’Or counts. Give Messi his seventh this year, and let his eighth and ninth follow.”
Credit: Football Tribe Malaysia