By Yusuf Mutiu
Lionel Messi has won his seventh Balon d’Or title ahead of Robert Lewandoski in a gala held at the French capital.
The Argentine has endured a slow start to life at Parc des Prince but had a great year with Barcelona and Argentina last season.
Messi’s first silverware for the La Albiceleste could be said to be the major driving force for his emergence as the 2021 Balon d’Or winner.
He captained Argentina to Copa America success in July, which ended Argentina 28-year drought in major international tournaments.
Messi helped Scaloni’s side to a 1-0 victory at the Maracana stadium against arch-rival – Brazil. A ground where he lost the world cup final in 2014.
Messi was crucial to his country’s run to the final after he had helped with four goals and provided five assists, the highest in both categories throughout the competition.
Lewandoski was the closest favourite to Lionel Messi after he had broken Gerd Muller’s record of 40 goals in a single Bundesliga season.
Messi’s success at the Balon d’Or means that he has extended the gap between him and Manchester United talisman – Cristiano Ronaldo to two. The Manchester United great has five Balon d’Or to his name, with his last success coming in 2017.
Lewandowski won the inaugural Striker of the year award.