"Sometimes when Messi won, he was not necessarily the best player" - Ex-Liverpool star makes bold Ballon d'Or claim

Inter Miami CF Celebrate Ballon d
Inter Miami CF Celebrate Ballon d'Or Winner Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi has won a record eight Ballon d'Or awards throughout his illustrious career. But former Liverpool and Everton star Don Hutchison firmly believes the Argentine has not always been the 'best player' whenever he's won the award in the past.

This reporter was in conversation with Hutchison during a media interaction organised by Sony Sports Network ahead of the Champions League final between Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund. The outcome of the final at Wembley could play a deciding factor in determing the winner of the prestigious Ballon d'Or in 2024.

Real Madrid stars Vinicus Jr and Jude Bellingham are leading the race for football's biggest individual honour at the minute. However, veteran midfielder Toni Kroos can also become a candidate for the award, if he wins the Champions League and European Championship with Real Madrid and Germany, respectively.

Hutchison backed Kroos for the Ballon d'Or, if the German wins the European double with club and country before hanging up his boots this summer.

"He [Kroos] would be a fantastic candidate for the Ballon d’Or. It would be a fitting end to his career as well. If he wins the Champions League and then the Euros this summer, he would definitely be a fitting candidate for the award."

Despite backing Kroos for the award, Hutchison feels that the honour is not the most important thing to achieve for most footballers. He is of the opinion that voting can be skewed at times, referring to how Messi won in the past.

The ex-Scotland international did not shy away from pinpointing how Messi was not always the best player in the world over the course of the year when winning the Ballon d'Or. He also expressed his disbelief in how Robert Lewandowski missed out on the award.

“I’ve not really got a preference, I just look at the player that I think has had a great year and a best year and that’s my vote. Sometimes when Messi won it, [he] was not necessarily the best player.”
“Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to have a Ballon d’Or, but I don’t think it’s the be-all and end-all for players. We’ve seen over the years that sometimes the votes can be a little skewed. How Lewandowski did not win it a few years ago was an absolute mystery. The players obviously want it because it’s a nice individual honour.

Hutchison went on to claim that Kroos would rather win the two trophies than the Ballon d'Or.

“But if you said it Kroos, ‘you aren’t going to win the Ballon d’Or, but you’re going to win the Champions League and the Euros’, he would be more than happy with that.

Can anybody match Lionel Messi's incredible Ballon d'Or tally?

From Kylian Mbappe to Vinicus Jr, Jude Bellingham, Erling Haaland, Phil Foden, Jamal Musiala and Florian Wirtz, there are several candidates who can stake a claim to become the best in the world in the next few years.

It's hard to imagine a single footballer dominating world football like Lionel Messi in the future. While all the players mentioned above are exceptionally talented, the longevity and consistency of Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will be tough to replicate.

The 2024 Ballon d'Or gala will be held at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris on October 28, Monday.

Watch the UEFA Champions League 2023-24 Final between Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid on 2nd June 2024 from 12:30 AM onwards LIVE on Sony Sports Ten 2 SD & HD, Sony Sports Ten 3 SD & HD (Hindi), Sony Sports Ten 4 SD & HD (Tamil & Telugu).

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