Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter comments on Lionel Messi's recent Ballon d'Or triumph Lionel Messi won the accolade for the seventh time last year

"We could have given Messi a consolation prize" - Sepp Blatter names player who should have won 2021 Ballon d'Or ahead of PSG superstar 

Jidonu Mauyon
ANALYST

Paris Saint-Germain superstar Lionel Messi was announced as the winner of the 2021 Ballon d'Or award on November 29 last year. Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter has claimed Real Madrid attacker Karim Benzema would've been a more deserving winner of the accolade.

Under Blatter's reign, FIFA reached an agreement with the organizers of the award, France Football, to merge the accolade with their annual Player of the Year award. The two accolades followed that path between 2010 and 2015 post which the agreement was terminated.

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SEVEN BALLON D’OR FOR LIONEL MESSI!

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9:53 AM · Nov 29, 2021

Amid recent criticism over the process of awarding the honor, Sepp Blatter reiterated the award isn't the same as it used to be when it was partly controlled by FIFA. The Swiss believes the association gave up on the accolade too easily. He further revealed that incumbent president Gianni Infantino's preference to present the award in London led to the breakdown in agreement.

"The Ballon d'Or of France Football is no longer the Ballon d'Or of FIFA. FIFA gave up the Ballon d'Or too easily."
"We had made a contract for the Ballon d'Or to be presented to Zurich, to FIFA, as long as we want."
"They saw that it had another international resonance together. But Infantino, when he arrived, wanted to do it in London. So, it was screwed up right away…"
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Lionel Messi's seven Ballon d'Or wins by numbers.

Just things.
11:46 AM · Nov 29, 2021

Speaking about the most recent edition, which was won by Messi, Sepp Blatter suggested the accolade should've been a different winner.

According to him, Real Madrid's Karim Benzema should've been crowned the best player in the world while Messi should've bagged a consolation prize.

"We could have given Messi a consolation prize . Benzema would have deserved the Ballon d'Or."

Notably, Sepp Blatter was banned by FIFA for eight years in 2015 in relation to investigations made on payments made to French legend Michel Platini. He received a second ban for another six years in March 2021 for the same issue.

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Who else could've beaten Lionel Messi to the Ballon d'Or apart from Karim Benzema?

Apart from Karim Benzema, Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski could've won the accolade in 2021. The Polish forward finished second in the rankings after bagging 48 goals and nine assists for the Bavarians last term but many believed he deserved to finish first.

The prolific Pole broke German legend Gerd Muller's longstanding record of scoring 40 goals in a single Bundesliga campaign last season. He scored 41 goals in 29 appearances in the 2020-21 campaign. Lewandowski was 'robbed' of winning the coveted prize in 2020 after the event was called off due to the pandemic.

Chelsea midfielder Jorginho also had a successful outing, winning the Champions League, Euros and UEFA Super Cup during the year. The Italian, alongside players like N'Golo Kante, Kevin de Bruyne and Mohamed Salah, were all tipped to win the grand prize.


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Edited by Arnav Kholkar
 
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