Alexia Putellas and Lionel Messi named 2021 Ballon d’Or winners

Alexia Putellas and Lionel Messi named 2021 Ballon d’Or winners

Alexia Putellas and Lionel Messi were crowned winners of the 2021 Ballon d’Or in a sparkling ceremony in Paris.

Putellas, who was an integral part of Barcelona’s three-time winning team with 18 goals and 12 assists in the Primera División, scored in the Champions League 4-0 final victory over WSL champions Chelsea and was named in the tournament team of the season.

The midfielder has already been named UEFA’s Player of the Year for her exceptional performances and followed last season with a strong opening for this campaign, including a four-minute treble against Valencia.

Putellas edged Barcelona teammate Jennifer Hermoso, Chelsea’s Sam Kerr and Arsenal striker Vivianne Miedema to lift the trophy. The Chelsea trio of Pernille Harder, Jessie Fleming and Fran Kirby finished seventh, ninth and 10th respectively.

The 27-year-old is following in the footsteps of Ada Hegerberg and Megan Rapinoe, who won the award in 2018 and 2019 respectively.

Putellas said: “I am very moved, this is a very special moment. I would like to start by thanking all my teammates, especially my current one [Barcelona] teammates. For me, it’s a collective success.

Messi won a seventh Ballon d’Or title, beating Robert Lewandowski for the prize. The Bayern Munich striker finished second after being a big favorite to win last year’s award only to have the ceremony called off due to Covid-19.

Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski accepts the striker of the year award but finished second in the Ballon d’Or vote. Photograph: Benoît Tessier / Reuters

Messi won his seventh title – beating Cristiano Ronaldo by two – and his first as a Paris Saint-Germain player after his summer transfer from Barcelona. The 34-year-old won a first Copa América title with Argentina this year and was also La Liga’s top scorer ahead of his emotional departure.

“It’s amazing to be here again. Two years ago, I thought it was the last time. Winning the Copa América was the key, ”Messi said. “It’s a special year for me with this Copa America title. It meant a lot to win at the Maracanã stadium and I was so happy to celebrate with the Argentines.

“I don’t know if this is the best year of my life, I’ve had a long career. But it was special with the title with Argentina after the tough times and the criticism.

Chelsea’s Jorginho finished third after an exceptional year in which he helped Italy to glory in the delayed Euro 2020 after winning the Champions League trophy in May. Chelsea were named Team of the Year after their memorable 1-0 win over Manchester City in Porto.

Among those in the top 10, Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante was fifth on the Ballon d’Or list, Manchester United’s Ronaldo sixth, Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah seventh and Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne eighth.

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Barcelona teenage midfielder Pedri, who recently agreed to a long-term contract extension including a € 1bn (£ 846m) release clause, has been named the winner of the Kopa trophy – best player under-21s of 2021. The 19-year-old received the award from the hands of former Ballon d’Or and World Cup winner Fabio Cannavaro. England’s Jude Bellingham narrowly missed the Kopa award after an impressive season with Borussia Dortmund.

Gianluigi Donnarumma won the Yashin Trophy after the Italian goalkeeper was named player of the tournament at Euro 2020.


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