The results of the Ballon d’Or were announced earlier this week, and it left many scratching their heads.
One of football’s most decorated prize ceremonies was shrouded in controversy, and Lionel Messi pipping Bayern Munich hitman Robert Lewandowski wasn’t the only bone of contention. There were also some angry words exchanged between Cristiano Ronaldo and France Football editor, Pascal Ferre on Twitter, with the Manchester United forward suggesting Ferre made spurious claims over the Portuguese superstar’s career ambitions.
Ballon d’Or discrepancy
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The biggest fallout came over the discrepancy of the results of two of football’s leading lights – Messi and Lewandowski. You have to spare a thought for Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah, who somehow came seventh!
Yes, that’s right seventh! Salah has been a model of consistency, and he has been a lynchpin for Liverpool.
He’s already into double figures for the Reds this season, and he has been terrorising defences up and down the country– you only have to ask United and Everton, who were left bamboozled.
The Egyptian King, as he is more affectionately referred to, can do little wrong, and he is idolised by the Anfield faithful. It’s not just his scoring output, but the way he links up play, and his left foot naturally, is a wand.
Salah is a far cry from the player that once flopped at Chelsea, but Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp questioned the thinking behind the voting.
He said: “It’s not in my hands. It’s the Ballon d’Or journalists that vote. Then yeah, don’t ask me, it’s your fault.
“If you think he should be higher up, then you should convince your colleagues.
“You can give it to Lionel Messi for the career he has had, all these kinds of things, but then don’t give it to Robert Lewandowski this time. Mo should have been higher up.”
Mohamed Salah eyes another Golden Boot accolade
Salah has proven to be one of the sharpest shooters over the past few years.
With two Golden Boots to his name, he has set his sights on claiming the prize for the third time. He’s already into double figures for the Premier League this campaign, and as such, he’s attracting attention from the leading bookmakers around the world. Some of the best betting sites in Australia, such as Palmer Bet, for example, have installed him as the short-priced favourite to finish the season as the top goalscorer. Liverpool, meanwhile, continue to curry favour to win the Premier League, although they are lagging behind Manchester City and Chelsea in the outright market with Unibet.
While Salah will have to fend off some interest from the likes of Jamie Vardy, Sadio Mane, and Ronaldo for the individual prize, he is looking almost unbeatable.
Getting to the next level
Ultimately, footballers will be judged on the number of team trophies that they have won throughout their career rather than the Ballon d’Or trophies they have scooped.
Of course, Messi has a vice-like grip on the Ballon d’Or, having already won it a record-extending seven times. As far as Salah is concerned, he is considered one of the best players in the world, and to finish seventh in the Ballon d’Or was borderline insulting.
Salah may feel like he’s hitting a glass ceiling at the moment, but he’s not far from Messi’s level. Maybe next year will be Salah’s year!