France Football, the organizer of the prestigious football awards has released a 30-man shortlist for the 2021 edition of the award. The 2020 edition of the award was not held due to the coronavirus pandemic that disrupted football across the world.
This means that Lionel Messi has been the reigning winner of the award since 2019, making him the first footballer to hold the award for two straight years without any contention.
Just like other national teams captains, Lionel Messi, the captain of the Argentina national team, will be among those who will vote for the winner of the 2021 Ballon d’Or.
Recall that before a Ballon d’Or winner can be chosen, all the national team captains, national team coaches, and some selected international football journalists would be given the responsibility to vote for their best five candidates.
The three finalists will be selected based on the number of times they appear in the voting lists of the voters. The winner, the second runner-up, and the third will be determined using the same method.
In an interview with a French publication, France Football, Lionel Messi was asked who among the 30-man nominees he would vote for, Messi named his teammates at PSG, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.
After naming Brazil and the France international, Messi went on to reveal that he would vote for Robert Lewandowski, and Karim Benzema who he said have been excellent in the past 12 months.
Messi failed to mention his career rival, Cristiano Ronaldo who has also been nominated for the award. This means that Messi’s voting list will comprise of himself, Mbappe, Neymar, Poland and Bayern Munich striker Lewandowski, France and Real Madrid striker Benzema.
He said: “In my team, there are two for whom I will easily vote; Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.
“And then Robert Lewandowski, who has just had a great year, and Karim Benzema who was excellent.”
Since Lionel Messi joined PSG from FC Barcelona for free on August 10, 2021, the 34-year-old Argentine football icon has played 5 games in all competitions and has managed to score a goal. His contract with the French side will expire on June 30, 2023.
He is currently on international assignment with the Argentina national team. Messi is expected to play on Monday, October 11 at 00:30 when Argentina play a World Cup qualifier against Uruguay.
Afterward, the 6 times Ballon d’Or winner will be in action against Peru on October 15, 2021. The match will kick off at 00:30.
All 27 Lionel Messi goals against Premier league clubspic.twitter.com/qcaluuMYnO— A (@TotaILM10i) October 7, 2021
Lionel Messi forgets to mention Barcelona as a UEFA Champions contender
During an interview with France Football, Lionel Messi was asked to mention the major contenders for the 2021-2022 UEFA Champions League campaign, he failed to mention his former club, FC Barcelona.
He mentioned PSG, Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City, Bayern Munich, and Inter Milan, but left out Barca that have recorded two defeats so far in the campaign.
He said: “Everyone thinks that Paris Saint-Germain will win the Champions League, but there are more teams.
“There is Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid who always do well, Bayern Munich and Inter. I don’t know if I forgot any.”
On the current PSG squad, Lionel Messi added: “We have some great individual players, but we still need to get to know each other well to form a team.
“To win titles it’s important that you play as a team.
“This is what makes me say that we’re a step behind in comparison with all these clubs who have more collective experience than us.”