Messi quandary: Should someone else win Ballon d’Or?

Lionel Messi is undoubtedly one of the greatest players to ever grace the football field.

In 2021, he finally achieved what he had always dreamed of, winning a senior title with Argentina when he helped La Albiceleste win the Copa America. His only other title with the national team was the 2008 Olympic gold medal.

While an outstanding achievement, and despite what the bookmakers say, it should not be enough for him to win his record-extending seventh Ballon d’Or. Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski is a more deserving winner.

Last year, the Polish international was denied the top prize when French Football scrapped their annual ceremony due to Covid-19.

The striker had a sensational 2019-2020 with the Bavarians, scoring 48 goals in 40 games, winning the Bundesliga title, Champions League trophy, and the German Cup.

Before the year was out, he helped Bayern win the UEFA Super Cup and FIFA World Club Cup to crown a successful 2020.

Bayern retained the Bundesliga crown at the end of that season and added the German Supercup to its collection.

This season, he has seven goals from as many games, as Bayern continues its German league dominance.

The only negative would be that although he scored three goals in as many games at Euro 2020, Poland still failed to win a game.

But that should not take the shine off his brilliance, and he should add to his international tally in two upcoming World Cup qualifiers against San Marino (Sunday, 2.45am) and Albania (Wednesday, 2.45am).

He already has 72 goals from 125 internationals.

If not Lewandowski, then Chelsea’s Brazilian-born Italian international Jorginho, or Frenchman N’Golo Kante, are worth a punt.

Jorginho followed up his feat of helping Chelsea win the Champions League by starring in Euro 2020 as Italy ended a 53-year wait to regain the trophy.

His midfield partner, Kante, is the perfect foil to his industry, and both played equally essential roles in Chelsea’s triumph over Manchester City in the Champions League final.

Five-time winner, Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United, is also among the favourites after finishing as top scorer at Euro 2020, with five goals in four games.

A dark horse for the trophy is Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah, who cannot stop scoring.

After his sensational strike against Manchester City last weekend, could he upset the rest at the award ceremony in December?