Football legend Lothar Matthaus believes Liverpool's Mohamed Salah may not win the 2021 Ballon d'Or award, as he was not consistently brilliant during the year. Matthaus added that Chelsea's Jorginho holds an edge over Salah.
The Egyptian has been making headlines since the new season commenced. Salah is already up to 15 goals across competitions, and has laid out five assists too, in 12 games.
Salah's performances in big games in recent times have been awe-inspiring. The 29-year-old scored a fabulous solo goal in Liverpool's 2-2 draw with Manchester City earlier this month. Salah followed that up with a brace in the Reds' 3-2 UEFA Champions League victory over Atletico Madrid.
Last weekend, the Egyptian netted a scintillating hat-trick as Liverpool rolled over arch-rivals Manchester United 5-0 at Old Trafford. Salah's displays have made many wonder why he is not among the frontrunners for the 2021 Ballon d'Or award, which is set to be announced on November 29.
Matthaus lauded Salah's recent efforts in his column for Sky Sports Germany (via Liverpool Echo). He wrote:
"What Klopp’s superstar Salah has been delivering for a few months is of course absolutely world-class."
However, the Bayern Munich legend also noted that Liverpool endured a sub-par 2020-21 campaign, winning no titles.
Although Salah managed 31 goals in 51 games for the Reds, Jurgen Klopp's side finished third in the Premier League and exited the UEFA Champions League in the quarter-final stage. The Reds found themselves outside the top four in the Premier League at one point as they embarked on a long winless streak.
Matthaus feels that could impact Salah's chances of winning the 2021 Ballon d'Or award.
"It is quite possible that this (his current form) will help him (Salah) a lot in his choice of world footballer. But that was not the case for the whole year. In the spring, he and Liverpool had serious problems."
Matthaus feels Chelsea's Jorginho is in a better position than the Liverpool forward to win the Ballon d'Or award in November. Jorginho won the UEFA Champions League with the Blues and Euro 2020 with Italy this year.
"Candidate Jorginho from Chelsea has been convincing for almost the entire last season, and played a key role in winning the Champions League and the European Championship with Italy," said Matthaus.
Liverpool's Salah unlikely to win Ballon d'Or with Jorginho, Lewandowski and Messi in the running
Alongside Jorginho, two other names that have been named among the favourites for the 2021 Ballon d'Or award are Robert Lewandowski and Lionel Messi.
Lewandowski won the Bundesliga title with Bayern Munich last season, and also broke Gerd Muller's record of most goals in a Bundesliga season. The Pole also won the continental treble in the 2019-20 campaign, eventually winning a sextuple. That could also factor in, as no Ballon d'Or award was given in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Messi, meanwhile, won the Copa del Rey with Barcelona and the Copa America with Argentina this year. La Pulga was the top scorer, assist provider and Player of the Tournament during La Albiceleste's triumphant campaign. Messi also registered 38 goals and 14 assists for Barcelona last season, placing him among the favourites for the 2021 Ballon d'Or award.
Lothar Matthaus also believes both Lewandowski and Messi have a good chance of winning the award. But he did admit that there are no clear favourites this year.
"He’s (Jorginho) not as spectacular as Lewandowski, whom I personally keep my fingers crossed for the most. This time, however, he lacks the international title. Messi won the Copa America with Argentina, but achieved nothing great with Barcelona. There are no top favourites."
Liverpool's Mohamed Salah looks unlikely to beat the trio of Jorginho, Lewandowski and Messi for the 2021 Ballon d'Or award. However, a successful year could see the Egyptian challenge for the coveted award next year.