As 2021 draws to a close, we are now entering awards season and of course in the world of football, that means just one thing — the Ballon d’Or. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, 2020’s ceremony was cancelled but it was reinstated by FIFA this year and with an action-packed 12 months, there was a lot to celebrate at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris.
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the big winners from the 2021 Ballon d’Or ceremony. Read on to find out more.
Despite being the overwhelming favourite to win the main award in the online betting markets, some football fans where still left displeased with Lionel Messi receiving the Ballon d’Or title for a record-extending seventh time as they believed Robert Lewandowski was a more worthy recipient.
There may have been uproar, especially as Messi certainly didn’t have his best year.But the now Paris Saint-Germain star still won La Liga’s Golden Boot with 30 goals in 35 games, helped Barcelona win the Copa del Rey and was a key figure in ending Argentina’s 30-year Copa America drought — beating their old rivals Brazil 1-0 in the final.
Ballon d’Or Feminin
Barcelona’s Alexia Putellas was named the winner of the third renewal of the women’s Ballon d’Or. The 27-year-old spearheaded an incredible season for the Spanish giants, helping them win the league, the cup and the Champions League, while she has scored 37 goals and recorded 27 assists to date. Her teammate Jennifer Hermoso was second with Chelsea’s Sam Kerr in third.
Striker of the Year
While Lewandowski had to settle for a controversial second place in the Ballon d’Or standings, there was certainly no one beating him to the newly formed Striker of the Year accolade. The Polish forward scored an incredible 48 times in 40 games for Bayern Munich, providing nine assists as the German giants won the DFB-Pokal and the Bundesliga (again), while he netted eight times and assisted twice for his country.
With last year’s ceremony, which Lewandowski almost certainly would have won, cancelled due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and Messi pipping him to this year’s trophy, the Striker of the Year award will probably feel like nothing more than a consolation for the 33-year-old.
Lewandowski probably wasn’t the only person that felt hard done by after the Ballon d’Or ceremony as Gianluigi Donnarumma was awarded the Yashin Trophy for the best goalkeeper ahead of Edouard Mendy. It must be said that Donnarumma had a fantastic European Championships in the summer, helping Italy win the trophy, but Mendy had the better year overall— keeping 36 clean sheets in 60 appearances across the Premier League and the Champions League, conceding just four times as Chelsea won the latter.
Donnarumma, who moved to Paris Saint-Germain from AC Milan for free in the summer, kept three clean sheets in seven matches at the Euros, saving penalties from youngsters Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka as Gli Azzurridenied England their first European triumph at Wembley.
Inaugurated in 2018, Pedri added the Kopa Trophy — given to the best player under the age of 21 — to his Golden Boy award, which he won just a couple of weeks prior. The 19-year-old has had quite the year, breaking into the Barcelona side, winning the Copa del Rey, becoming a regular in the Spanish side, which led to him being crowned Young Player of the Tournament at the Euros and named in the Team of the Tournament, while he also featured at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. All-in-all, Pedri played an amazing 73 games for club and country!
Club of the Year
While Jorginho and Mendy missed out on personal awards, Chelsea, who are one of the favourites to win the Premier League this season if you’re looking for betting tips for free, didn’t go home completely empty handed as they were named the winners of the maiden Club of the Year award.
As already mentioned, the men’s team beat Manchester City in Portugal to win the Champions League back in May and they later won the UEFA Super Cup at Windsor Park in Belfast. The women’s side were crowned Women’s Super League champions. Both have started this season well, with the men top of the Premier League while Emma Hayes’ side are currently second in the WSL.