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Ballon d’ Or : 3 players who were robbed of football’s biggest award

PSG magician Lionel Messi will be hoping to claim his record-extending seventh Ballon d’Or on Monday but a fan-voted poll’s results could spell bad news for the Argentine Lionel Messi has only finished third in a fan-voted Ballon d’Or ceremony ahead of the official announcement. The real winner will be crowned at the Chatelet Theatre in Paris on Monday 29 November from a list of 30 candidates, including Paris Saint-Germain stars Messi, Neymar, Gianluigi Donnarumma and Kylian Mbappe. Reports point towards Messi picking up his record-extending seventh Ballon d’Or prize aged 34, with RTP Sports claiming the Argentine has already been informed and told his friends and family of the historic achievement. But not everyone thinks Messi should win the award, according to a fan poll run by Transfermarkt using social media platform Instagram. Lionel Messi will be looking for his seventh Ballon d'Or triumph Lionel Messi will be looking for his seventh Ballon d'Or triumph The well-known data site sought to find out who the real Ballon d’Or winner should be by putting it to the public. And Messi, along with five-time winner Cristiano Ronaldo, both failed to make the final for the 2021 edition. Manchester United forward Ronaldo, who picked up his first Ballon d’Or during his first stint with the Red Devils, was knocked out by Robert Lewandowski in the semi-finals. Meanwhile, Messi was thwarted by Egyptian king Mohamed Salah who went on to lose to Bayern Munich's Lewandowski in the final. Robert Lewandowski missed out on the biggest individual prize due to the pandemic Robert Lewandowski missed out on the biggest individual prize due to the pandemic Don't miss a thing with our football updates! Want to be on the ball with all of the latest football news? Well then sign up for the brilliant Daily Star football email newsletter! From the latest transfer news to the agenda-setting stories, get it all in your email inbox - don't miss a thing. How do you sign up? It only takes a matter of seconds. Simply type your email address into the box at the top of this article and hit 'subscribe'. And that's it, job done. You'll receive an email with all of the top news stories every single morning. You can find out more information on our email newsletter on this link here. The Pole, 33, is believed to be favourite alongside Messi to pick up the real award, having only missed out last year due to the event being scrapped after Covid-19’s impact on the football calendar. Lewandowski broke Gerd Muller’s record of 40 goals in a single Bundesliga season this year on his way to winning the title, while already netting a staggering 25 goals in 19 games this season. Second-placed Salah’s own performances have resembled a prime Messi this season as the Liverpool striker ends November having scored 17 goals across 17 matches. Yet Messi has netted just one Ligue 1 goal this season after his transfer to the Parisian giants, which may impact the Ballon d'Or outcome.
Ballon d’ Or : 3 players who were robbed of football’s biggest award

Lionel Messi was awarded his seventh Ballon d’Or title on Monday night, finishing ahead of Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski and Chelsea’s Jorginho. Many believe that the Argentine did not deserve the award and that the Polish striker should have taken the top spot.

These aren’t new sentiments; previous editions were also rife with strong claims that other players were more deserving. While there is always a legitimate claim that another player should have received the award (it is, after all, a competitive award between the best players), we have identified three instances where other players should have received the award.

#3. Wesley Sneijder – Inter Milan (2009/10)

During the 2009/10 season, the Dutchman was in imperious form, leading Inter Milan to an unprecedented treble-winning season, the first and only Italian team to do so.

Sneijder added the Supercoppa Italiana and the FIFA Club World Cup to his tally of Italian Serie A, UEFA Champions League, and Coppa Italia before the end of the year.

On the international stage, the former Inter player led the Netherlands to the final, where they were defeated by Spain thanks to Andres Iniesta’s lone goal. He scored five goals and assisted once on his way to the final, adding to the eight goals and fifteen assists he had for Inter during the regular season.

However, when the 2010 Ballon d’Or was presented on January 10, 2011, the Dutchman did not even make the podium. The Top 3 were Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta, and Xavi Hernandez.

#2.Virgil van Dijk – Liverpool (2018/19)

Virgil van Dijk, Liverpool’s star defender, was as dominant as he was important during the club’s title-winning 2019/20 season. The 6ft 4in defender was a luxurious edifice in the Liverpool backline, easily snuffing out attacks and solidifying a team he had only joined six months before.

Van Dijk led Liverpool to their sixth UEFA Champions League title and a one-point loss to Manchester City in the Premier League. Aside from the titles, Van Dijk was the closest thing to a dominant force on the European scene in 2018/19.

The Liverpool defender finished second to Lionel Messi at the 2019 Ballon d’Or awards ceremony, losing to the then-Barcelona forward by just seven points – the smallest points margin in the award’s history.

#1. Franck Ribery – Bayern Munich (2013/14)

Franck Ribery, a former Bayern Munich winger, won everything except the Ballon d’Or during the 2013/14 season. Under Jupp Heynckes, the French forward won the Bundesliga, the DFB-Pokal Cup, and the UEFA Champions League.

The following season, he added the DFL-Supercup, the UEFA Supercup, and the FIFA Club World Cup to his sextuple. During the 2012-13 season, Ribery scored 11 goals and assisted on 23 others.

However, Ribery was only ranked third in the 2013 Ballon d’Or rankings, trailing Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

Following the awards ceremony, he told the German newspaper Bild: “During last year’s Ballon d’Or gala, I learned a lot. As soon as I arrived, I told my wife that I was going to lose. Sepp Blatter was hugging Ronaldo, and his entire family was present. I’m not a moron. It was obvious that he had to win. He wouldn’t have brought his entire family if that wasn’t the case.”

Ribery’s Ballon d’Or award may go down in history as the most contentious.

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