The Argentinian superstar won the award of player of the year in 2019 on the FIFA Gala and he has become the first player in history to win the award on 6 occasions. But was it a deserved recognition? It seems like the opinions are divided…
Lionel Messi: Ballon D’Or with the La Liga title ensured
It is not very common to award the prize of best player in the world only considering the individual performance of a player in the past couple of years.
And last season, Lionel Messi went through a disastrous end of the season for Barcelona and the Argentinian national team, suffering several consecutive upsets in the Champions League, Copa del Rey and Copa America.
The Argentinian attacker shined on the Champions League and La Liga, finishing as the top goalscorer of both competitions, but he missed out again on the big objectives of the season both in terms of club and national team.
He allowed Liverpool to comeback from 0-3 down to 4-3 in the tie in only 90 minutes, and he saw Argentina being unable to stop Tite’s Brazil in the Copa America.
Therefore, the conclusion is very simple: this year it was the individual performance, independently of the collective titles conquered, that made the difference to decide the winner of the award.
Winning La Liga has been almost a formality for Barcelona in previous years, but Messi hasn’t always won this award.
Last year, for example, it was Luka Modric that won this trophy after winning the Champions League and reaching the final of the World Cup with Croatia.
Virgil van Dijk will hardly get another opportunity
If Cristiano Ronaldo is a usual presence amongst the top 3 players in the world, the same can’t be said about Liverpool’s Dutch defender that had an amazing season, but still wasn’t enough for him to be crowned as the best player of 2019.
The former Southampton defender transformed Liverpool’s defence on a solid core that served as a foundation for the European title and for an exceptional Premier League campaign only stopped by a galactic Manchester City.
Internationally, van Dijk led the Netherlands to the final of the UEFA Nations League where they would eventually lose by 1-0 against Portugal on a close match.
Basically, van Dijk cooperated to elevate his club and national teams to higher levels when compared to their recent past, but that hasn’t completely convinced the voters for this award.
And if on a fantastic season like that, Virgil van Dijk wasn’t elected the best player in the world, he will hardly be selected in the near future, unless Messi and Ronaldo start fading away from the scenario and there isn’t anyone showing up to replace them.
Cristiano Ronaldo is not satisfied
Allegedly, Cristiano Ronaldo didn’t attend the award show due to an injury. However, we all know that in case he had won, the Portuguese would have found a way to be there.
But his likely feeling of frustration on this very particular fight against Lionel Messi is perfectly acceptable if we take into consideration what happened in the last 2 years.
Leading Liverpool to an European title seems to be a superior achievement to leading Real Madrid to the same trophy, and helping the Netherlands rebuild as a team after several years of struggle is also something to take into consideration, although reaching the final of the World Cup with Croatia also has unquestionable value.
This is a way to say that, CR7 probably feels like he deserved to win the award more in 2018 than exactly Messi in 2019.
Ronaldo won the Champions League that year, finishing as the top goalscorer of the competition, and he still helped Portugal in the World Cup with 4 goals scored in 4 matches and an historical exhibition against Spain.
— Marijuve420 (@MariJuve420) September 30, 2019
As for this year, he changed clubs going to Italy and he won two domestic titles, besides the UEFA Nations League with Portugal, where he was also the top goalscorer of the final four of the competition.
It seems to be relatively unanimous that the voters favoured Messi over the Portuguese, be it for the magic that comes out of the feet of the Argentina, be it for the reactions the personality of the Portuguese layer can generate in the scenario of world football.
With the2019/20 season just kicking off, and Ronaldo already having several goals scored between club and national team, the Portuguese will be focusing on silencing the critics once more, but will he be in physical and psychological conditions to do so?
Lionel Messi, in turn, didn’t even start competing due to an injury and he needs to get back on track, especially with Barcelona playing so poorly at this start of the season.