Friday, December 8, 2023

Messi picks up the eighth and last? Golden Ball

Initial warning: the question marks are a precaution, perhaps a sign of cowardice, not to ensure that, in fact, it will be latest Lionel Messi’s Ballon d’Or. He will turn 37 in 2024, he plays for Inter Miami, which does not count like any European club, but there will be a Copa América. From June 20 to July 14, 2024 in the United States, his new home, he will lead Argentina, current champion of the continent and the world.

Cristiano gave up continuing to fight with Messi and was left with 5 Ballon d’Ors. The gap has increased.

Not even the worst Messi hater would dare to guess that he will not be one of the contenders to win the most precious individual trophy. Invited to the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris he can take it for granted, if he wishes. He will be among the 30 finalists. He will not disappear overnight like Cristiano Ronaldo, who decided to become an ultra mega hyper billionaire in Saudi Arabia, where he continues to increase his scoring numbers, just like in Portugal. He won five golden balls in 2017. The gap has increased.

Messi raises the world cup after the final in Qatar. Kai Pfaffenbach

a month’s work

Messi has rejected a couple of prefixes to continue competing, at a slower pace, true, in the MLS. However, the influence he has exerted on the team and in the American league in terms of viewership confirm his authority. He has scored 11 goals and given 5 assists in 14 games, in addition to bringing the club its first title.

Messi has not added the ball to those he took in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019 and 2021 for his stay in the United States, nor for having scored 21 goals in 41 games and winning Ligue 1 with Paris Saint Germain in the 22-23 regular season.

The ball will enter the Messi house through the Qatar World Cup. For a month’s work. Seven games and seven goals, five-time MVP. That’s how formidable his performance was to crown and be crowned with Argentina. Seven years ago, at the 2016 gala, he said that he preferred the World Cup to a Ballon d’Or.

Haaland touches the European Super Cup trophy, the last trophy won by City in August. Reuters

Haaland couldn’t overthrow Leo with the season of his life, but he did take the Gerd Müller trophy for the best scorer of the season.

Not even 56 goals are enough

The guy is so supernatural that not even the perfect season of the most destabilizing footballer in Europe has been enough to overthrow him.

Erling Haaland has had the campaign of his life, one of those that deserves the adjective of unrepeatable – an adjective that Messi made useless –, with the trefoil of major titles (Premier League, the ‘Cup’ and the Champions League), plus the European Super Cup, the Golden Boot for the best scorer of Europe and top scorer in the Champions League. In his first campaign with Manchester City, he scored 52 goals in 53 games, a total of 56 with Norway. He received the Gerd Müller trophy for top scorer.

Erling Haaland. Agencies

“It’s my job,” Haaland said. His way of helping the team and completing a masterpiece. He extended his gratitude from his family to the physiotherapists, from the technicians “to my colleagues.”

An awful lot of goals, yes… From the 2008-09 campaign to 20-21, Messi scored 50 or more goals in 9 of the 13 seasons, counting only those scored with Barça. Leo holds the record for 91 goals in all of 2012.

Messi poses with his wife and children on the red carpet at the Ballon d’Or gala. Reuters

None given away

It is not a flash in the pan for Haaland, who is on the same path this season, with 13 goals in 15 games. He will lack a title with Norway to lend him a hand in the next edition of the Ballon d’Or because he will not participate in the Euro Cup in Germany.

Iniesta and Xavi support Messi with the trophy at the Camp Nou. Jordi Cotrina

None of the trophies were given to Messi. Spanishness argued against him in 2010, for not having won the World Cup that Xavi and Iniesta, the companions on the podium, and the trilogy that made Barça historic. The historic Barça is now the feminine one (the first classified were Robert Lewandowski, 12th and Ilkay Gündogan, 14th), and that is why Joan Laporta continues to go to Paris and applaud Messi, whom he fired and could not get back. To him who cries and longs. As many.


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