3 reasons why Lionel Messi could still win the Ballon d'Or despite Copa America failure
Many have doubted that Lionel Messi can win the Ballon d'Or following another Copa America failure. Messi led his national team into the final in the previous 2 Copa edition. Unfortunately, Argentina's display was far from convincing this time, as the team only reached the semi-finals.
The Albicelestes barely escaped early elimination from the competition after collecting just a point from their first 2 games. It is understandable that Messi played below the public's expectation, as the Barcelona talisman scored just a goal (from a penalty) throughout the competition.
On the other hand, Messi's main Ballon d'Or competitor Virgil van Dijk led the Netherlands into UEFA Nations League final. Thus, van Dijk progressed further than Messi in the national competition this year, despite the Oranje losing to Portugal in the final. Nevertheless, the 32-year-old could still end up as the Ballon d'Or winner due to the following reasons:
#3 He carried Barcelona in La Liga
Barcelona were heavily reliant on Messi last season, and their over-reliance sparked criticisms from the fans. However, Barcelona's dependence on the 32-year-old has turned into a blessing in disguise for the Argentinian, as it considerably boosts Messi's chances of winning the Ballon d'Or.
The Barcelona superstar successfully carried his club, amassing 36 league goals and providing 13 assists. Other Barcelona potential goalscorers such as Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho failed to impress last season. Thus, Luis Suarez was the only player capable of helping Messi score goals.
Had Messi been unable to play, Barcelona might have finished in a mid-table position in the league. On the other hand, van Dijk had top European players such as Andrew Robertson, Alisson Becker, and Alexander Arnold who helped him in defense. Hence, it could be safe to say that Messi had a better impact than van Dijk on the club level.