Grab your heart with your hand and ask whether the outcome of the Ballon d’Or was justified or not – even if you are the fan of a particular player and worship him day and night, still, just ask honestly the question – okay, you did it.

What did you listen to?

Surely, the honest answer would be, the outcome was not justified at all.

Such a prestigious award should remain unbiased and awarded to those who have performed extremely well throughout the season.

With due respect to Lionel Messi, he had done nothing other than winning the Copa America and even in the final he was anonymous while most of the time, people felt, he was “gifted” an international trophy rather than fighting it out and achieving it.

Yes, other than winning a trophy on Brazilian soil, he offered a lot of actions off the field – moved to Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) from Barcelona and even in Ligue1, he has been blunt till now.

In contrast, Robert Lewandowski of Poland and Bayern Munich enjoyed a fantastic season yet again – but the jury of France Football seemed to remain too biased towards their blue-eyed-boy – Robert was denied back in 2018-19 and 2020-21 for the sake of Messi, thankfully, FIFA was not influenced by the love for individuals and proved that their award still bears weight.

Lewandowski had seen off Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah and Lionel Messi to be named the top men’s player at FIFA’s “The Best” awards.

The Bayern Munich star retained the award he picked up last year following a prolific 2021 in attack for the Bundesliga giants.

Lewandowski said, “Thank you very much. I am very honoured to win this trophy and feel proud. I know it belongs to my teammates and coaches. We all work hard to win the games. It is special to work with these guys around me.”

“I never dream about breaking this record [of Gerd Muller’s]. To score 41 in 29 games – if you ask me that a few years ago if it is possible I would tell you it is impossible. I also say to him thank you. He set so many records and to me, it was always the next step to try and break it.”

At the event held at FIFA’s headquarters in Zurich Switzerland, Chelsea stopper Edouard Mendy won FIFA’s “The Best” goalkeeper prize to be crowned the world’s best shot-stopper.

Having won the Champions League with Chelsea last season, Mendy saw off rivals Gianluigi Donnarumma, who won Euro 2020 with Italy, as well as Bayern’s Manuel Neuer.

The Blues success in Europe also ensured Thomas Tuchel picked up the award for the best manager.

Tuchel saw off competition from Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola, who won the Premier League title but lost the Champions League final to the Blues, while Roberto Mancini was also pipped despite his stunning success with Italy at Euro 2020 – beating England in the final.

Tuchel revealed his delight at the award saying, “It was a pretty normal day so far at training. I have just come here. But now you have said my name and it is pretty surreal. I am overwhelmed and a bit uncomfortable.”

“I enjoy the journey and the club. It is a good fit. The company on the journey is so good. We lost a bit of track to Manchester City in the league but we follow our goals still and be the best version of ourselves.”

It was double success for Chelsea in the best manager award with Emma Hayes winning best women’s coach.

Hayes, 45, guided the Blues to Women’s Super League and League Cup glory last season and steered the London side to the Champions League final.

She was named WSL manager of the season for her feats and was awarded an OBE in the New Year Honours for services to football.

Meanwhile, Erik Lamela picked up the Puskas award for best goal following his incredible Rabona strike for Tottenham Hotspur against Arsenal in the north London derby last season at the Emirates Stadium.

Lamela, who has since moved to Sevilla, saw off strong competition from Czech Republic’s Patrik Schick who had scored an incredible 45-yard strike at Euro 2020 against Scotland at Hampden Park as well as Mehdi Taremi bicycle kick for Porto against Chelsea last April in the Champions League.

“To be fair, I never practice this in training. It is something that comes in one second”, Lamela said after earning the award.

There was even more success for Chelsea in the men’s best XI award, with Jorginho and Kante featuring, along with Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Manchester City pair Kevin de Bruyne and Ruben Dias.

And then….

Cristiano Ronaldo had been presented with the FIFA Special Award at “The Best” award ceremony, in celebration of his all-time international scoring record.

The Manchester United forward was awarded the prestigious prize after he broke the international goal scoring record with an impressive 115 goals for Portugal.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner was one of the only recipients to attend the ceremony in person and declared it was a ‘dream’ to collect such an award.

Speaking on Monday night, Ronaldo said, “It is a dream. First of all, I have to say thank you to my teammates in the national team in the last 20 years that I used to play with.”

“The record was 109, right? So six ahead. I am so proud. It is a special award from Fifa – an organisation I respect a lot. I also have to thank my family. Soon I will be a father again. I am proud. It is great to be the goalscorer of all time.”

“’I still have the passion for the game and to score goals. I play football since I was five years old. When I go to the pitch, even in training, my motivation is still there. Even 37 soon, I feel good.”

“I keep working hard. I love the game and have the passion. I want to continue. I hope to play maybe four or five years, It is all mental. If you treat your body good when you need it will give back.”

The former Real Madrid player was also included in FIFA’s Men’s Team of the Year, featuring in a front-line alongside Lionel Messi, Erling Haaland and Roberto Lewandowski.

However, Ronaldo failed to make the top three for the Men’s Player of the Year award won by Lewandowski, with Messi and Mohamed Salah rounding off the podium places.

Barcelona’s Alexia Putellas pipped her team-mate Jenni Hermoso and Chelsea’s Sam Kerr to claim the women’s prize for the best overall player.


Note: Input from Daily Mail UK

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