Lionel Messi is set to win his seventh Ballon d’Or award on Monday, with arch-rival and Manchester United superstar Cristiano Ronaldo opting not to be at the ceremony in Paris
Cristiano Ronaldo appears to have snubbed the Ballon d’Or ceremony, with arch-rival Lionel Messi set to win his seventh award.
The Manchester United superstar is not expected to finish in France Football’s top three for the first time since 2007 and reports claim he will not be present in Paris on Monday.
Portuguese outlet SIC say that Ronaldo will not be at the Theatre du Chatelet, where Messi is expected to pick up yet another golden ball.
The 36-year-old has won five Ballon d’Or himself but has hardly been in the race this year, despite finishing as the top goalscorer in Serie A and at the European Championships.
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Instead, the likes of Chelsea maestro Jorginho and Liverpool ‘s Mohamed Salah are in the running.
The pair stand alongside Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema and the man who cruelly missed out on winning the award in 2020 due to it being bizarrely cancelled during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, Robert Lewandowski.
Messi has been sensational in 2021, a year that has seen him take two monumental steps in his career.
Firstly, the 34-year-old led Argentina to a long-awaited Copa America in July, having lost his three previous finals.
And a month later, the forward shocked the football world by leaving Barcelona to join Paris Saint-Germain.
Messi’s start to life in France has been slow for his standards, although still boasts four goals and three assists in 11 games for Mauricio Pochettino ‘s side.
But the six-time champion has publicly claimed he does not expect to pick up the award, telling Sport : “If I’m honest, I don’t think so.
“My biggest prize was what I was able to achieve with the national team.
“After having fought and fought so much for that achievement, it was the best for all it cost.
“If the Ballon d’Or arrives it would be extraordinary for what it would mean winning one more. The seventh would be crazy.
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“If not, nothing happens. I have already achieved one of my great goals. I am very happy for what happened and now that whatever has to happen happens.”
Dominating the competition for creative statistics, Messi is beaten by Bayern Munich hitman Lewandowski in the goalscoring charts.
The Poland captain has struck 63 times for club and country in 2021 – by far and away the most in Europe’s top-five leagues – but looks set to miss out on a first Ballon d’Or.
But the master marksman will have a consolation if he loses, as 1960 winner Luis Suarez told Carrusel Deportivo : “Give Lewandowski the Ballon d’Or, damn it!
“If not, I’ll give you mine!”
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