Bundesliga and non-Bundesliga fans, at least in the great majority, were united yesterday with their distaste for France Football awarding Lionel Messi with his seventh Ballon d’Or award instead of giving Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski his first.
In the official tallies, Lewandowski finished second behind Messi, with Jorginho, Karim Benzema, and N’Golo Kante behind him to round out the top five finishers.
At this point, it just seems a waste of energy to pour salt on an open wound considering Lewandowski also should have won it in 2020, which Messi clearly highlighted in his acceptance speech. Even some football fans and both current and former players feel that neither Messi nor Lewandowski should’ve won the award. Former Bayern Munich midfielder and World Cup winner with Germany Toni Kroos said that he feels his Real Madrid teammate Benzema should’ve won it.
In a recent episode of the Einfach mal Luppen podcast, Kroos explained his rationale for thinking Benzema deserved to win the award. “First of all, I have to say that I am not interested in individual awards at all. But if they already exist, then they should be fair. And in my opinion that is absolutely not the case this time. You can also say that as someone who walks across the meadow from time to time. But for me (Karim) Benzema would have been the 1 if you were really looking for the best individual player of the last year, because I can see up close what an outstanding footballer he is,” he explained (Sport1).
Even as a bitter La Liga rival of Messi’s for many years playing for Real Madrid, Kroos still said there is simply no denying the Argentine’s quality. “There is no doubt that Messi is next to [Cristiano] Ronaldo the player of this decade and has qualities that others will never have. What is wrong with the choice is above all first place,” he said.
Kroos had even gone as far as saying that Cristiano Ronaldo has been more influential this past year, especially for the amount of winning and important goals he’s scored for Manchester United, if if his move, as a whole, back to Manchester hasn’t quite worked out exactly as he wanted thus far. “When I see how many decisive goals Cristiano has made lately - that Manchester is still in the Champions League is thanks to him alone - then Cristiano would still be in my eyes came before Messi,” he said.
Whatever credibility France Football had left was eliminated with the double snub of Lewandowski, and it’s safe to assume that Bayern fans won’t take too kindly to Kroos’ opinion of Benzema deserving the Ballon d’Or over Messi and Lewandowski.