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UCL: Who Was The Most Outstanding amongst The Top Ballon d’ Or Contenders That Won MOTM Awards?

UCL: Who Was The Most Outstanding amongst The Top Ballon d' Or Contenders That Won MOTM Awards? UCL: Who Was The Most Outstanding amongst The Top Ballon d’ Or Contenders That Won MOTM Awards?

The Matchday four of the UEFA Champions League kicked off yesterday with Wolfsburg defeating the Austrian side; Salzburg by 2-1 in the early fixture. The reigning European Champions; Chelsea were next to secure all three points against Swedish side Malmo to close in Juventus at the top of the table courtesy of Hakim Ziyech’s lone goal. The night fixtures was a fierce battle especially in the game between Atalanta and Manchester United.

Manchester United somewhat managed to salvage a draw at the Gewiss Stadium through the help of their talisman Cristiano Ronaldo as the match ended 2-2. Juventus saw off Zent Saint Petersburg by 4-2 while Sevilla suffered a shocking 2-1 home defeat at the hands of French side LilleBayern Münich cruised past Benfica by 5-2 at the Allianz Arena to secure their spot into the next round while FC Barcelona saw off Dynamo Kyiv by a narrow 1-0 victory through Ansu Fati.

The interesting thing about yesterday’s fixtures was the superb performance put up by the Ballon d’Or Nominees with Jorginho, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Robert Lewandowski scooping the man of the match awards in their games. Other men of the match award winners include Ansu Fati of BarcelonaPaulo Dybala of Juventus, Jonathan David of Lille, etc.

This year’s Ballon d’Or Nominees have made it difficult to ascertain who the outright winner is up till this time unlike in the previous years. However, many football lovers and experts have tipped Messi to clinch the award considering his contributions to their major international trophy win (Copa America) with Argentina. Aside from the Argentine, the other three aforementioned players are the strongest contenders to win the award. Therefore, let’s quickly have a look at their performance in their matches yesterday.

1. Jorginho [ Malmo 0-1 Chelsea ]

Chelsea defeated Malmo away from home in their UEFA Champions match after previously hammering them 4-0 at Stamford Bridge a fortnight ago with Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner picking up injuries in the game. Chelsea’s victory last night saw Jorginho man the midfield alongside Loftus Cheek and Hakim Ziyech. However, the Italian midfield maestro was the key man in their victory as he sustained equilibrium between the defense and attack.

Many said Hudson Odoi or Loftus Cheek would have won the award ahead of Jorginho. Both players no doubt did a great job but what was missing in their game was the fact that they were too attack-minded and were found wanting anytime the opponent dispossesses them. Whereas Jorginho was able to place a balance between both and ensured every vacuum created was filled up. He detected the tempo of the game and thus, left the opponents with little or no chance at all.

2. Robert Lewandowski [ Bayern 5-2 Benfica ]

Lewandowski is undoubtedly the most suitable for the Ballon d’Or award in my opinion when you look at his statistics for the past three seasons. He is one of the most lethal attackers in the game and ages like fine wine. He singlehandedly demolished Benfica by scoring a hat-trick against the Portuguese side. He would have scored four but missed a penalty in the stoppage time of the first half.

He opened the scoring in the 26th minutes of the game through a header from Kingsley Coman’s cross and six minutes later, he turned provider for Serge Gnabry. He was on the scoreboard again in the 61st minutes of the game after a lovely pass from Leroy Sane. The Pole Striker completed his hat trick as he picked up a long pullout from Manuel Neuer and chipped the ball perfectly over the goalkeeper.

3. Ronaldo [ Atalanta 2-2 Manchester United ]

Cristiano Ronaldo was again the hero on the night for Manchester United as he scored two stoppage-time goals in both halves to secure a point for the Old Trafford side. He was the most outstanding player on the night and how he struck the second goal is ingenious. Kicking the ball into the far bottom corner of the post without lifting the head is something rarely seen but Ronaldo executed that brilliantly last night.

In summary, based on the teams played against, the venue of the fixture, and individual brilliance, I think Ronaldo was the most outstanding amongst the three players. Bayern Münich would have defeated Benfica with or without Lewandowski, just like Chelsea have shown in their past matches that the team can perform better in the absence of any top player. But in terms of Man UnitedRonaldo has carried them on his shoulders on more than one occasion and last night wasn’t any different against a strong Atalanta side.

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Dominic Nwodo

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