Andres Iniesta on Lionel Messi winning Copa America: “Still number one”

The 2021 Copa America was a special one for both Lionel Messi and Argentina. For Messi, a burden was lifted from his shoulders as he finally achieved international glory, and for Argentina, the country finally celebrated their first victory since 1993. It was a night of celebration for both the players and the fans and one that they will remember for years to come.–167743807/–167743807/–167743807/–167743807/–167743807/–167743807/–167743807/–167743807/–167743807/–167743807/–167743807/–167743807/–167743807/

Although it was a team effort, we can say the cup was destined for Messi. The player had five assists in the tournament along with four goals which secured him the Golden Boot, as well as the Best Player of the Tournament. He put his mind and soul into winning the tournament and he finally managed to make his country proud.

Not surprisingly, the player received a lot of praise and congratulations from the current as well as former teammates. Neymar, who won the La Liga as well as the Champions League with Messi at Barcelona, went straight to Messi after the match and embraced him to congratulate him on the victory.
Andres Iniesta on Lionel Messi winning the Copa America

Andres Iniesta told Spanish Esports commentator, and Twitch streamer, Ibai Llanos, that he believes that Messi is still number one in the world. He said,

The win means that he can no longer be kept under the shadow of an Argentine legend, Diego Maradona. Fans who kept pushing Cristiano Ronaldo in front of Messi due to his Euros and Nations League will also have to find a new argument. Messi might very well go on to win his seventh Ballon d’Or this year, and then we can comfortably call him the greatest of all time.

Do you miss the days when Iniesta and Messi played together?

Ballon d’Or 2021 Power Rankings: Messi favorite after Argentina victory?

With the 2020/21 season behind us and both the Euros and Copa America finally ending, we can take a look at the new power rankings for the 2021 Ballon d’Or and see if Lionel Messi is now the favorite. There have been quite a few changes, mostly due to the international tournaments which took place in the postseason. European and South American fans had the pleasure of watching two great tournaments with intense matches, drama, heartbreak, and joy.

Many players who failed to have a good season with their respective clubs turned over a new leaf for their country and many who had great seasons with their clubs, were unable to show the same in the international tournaments. Then, on the other hand, players like Lionel Messi, Jorginho, and Cristiano Ronaldo managed to keep their amazing form and had amazing tournaments.

The results during these two major tournaments will have a deep impact on the final rankings in the Ballon d’Or awards, a ceremony which everyone will welcome back with open arms after a year of hiatus. The prestigious ceremony was not held last year due to the Coronavirus pandemic and the just winner Robert Lewandowski was left empty-handed.

This year, the battle will be more close than ever as several players are in for the first spot but only one can win the award. Messi winning the award would help him increase the gap between himself and Ronaldo however, there are others who are hoping to win their first-ever Ballon d’Or. Let’s take a look at the top 10 players who might win the award in 2021:

Federico Chiesa of Juventus and Italy

Stats and Achievement 20/21:- Juventus: 15 goals, 11 assists | Italy: 2 goals

Won Euro 2020, Coppa Italia & Supercoppa Italiana.

The Italian right-winger had an eventful season with Juventus however, it ended with only a Coppa Italia and a Supercoppa Italiana win. Although it was a difficult season for the Turin side where they saw themselves surrender the Scudetto after nine long years, it was a good season for this 23-year-old. The winger, who can play all over the field as a left-winger, center-forward, left-midfielder, and even right-midfielder, scored 15 goals in all competitions for the old lady while providing 11 assists as well.

This is a great accomplishment in itself however, his form in the Euros was sensational and it helped the Italians lift their first major trophy since 2006. After more than a decade of silence, Chiesa’s two important goals, one against Austria and one against Spain helped Italy dominate the Euros once again. He was monumental in Italy’s victory and there are rumors about Bayern Munich being interested in the player. His performance in the Juve shirt and in the Italian shirt earns him the tenth spot on this Ballon d’Or list.

Neymar Jr. of Paris Saint-Germain and Brazil

Stats and Achievement 20/21:- PSG: 17 goals, 11 assists | Brazil: 2 goals, 3 assists

Won Coupe de France & Trophee des Champions.

Neymar had a decent season with PSG last season, scoring 17 goals while providing 11 assists. Although this would be considered as a great individual performance in a normal circumstance when compared to his teammate Mbappe, all of a sudden it seems like a very average season. In all honesty, Neymar had an average club season however, what gave him entry into the list, was his performance in Copa America.

The Brazilian was absolutely wonderful to watch in the competition and he skipped past defenders like they were not even there. He scored two goals in the continental cup and provided three assists. He was arguably one of the best players in the finals and although the men in yellow did end up losing, Neymar was an absolute spectacle to watch. He was named as the Best Player of the tournament alongside Lionel Messi and the CONMEBOL said that it was impossible to select one as the best player. However, his lackluster season with the French giants means that he can only be awarded a ninth-place finish on this Ballon d’Or list.

Erling Haaland of Borussia Dortmund and Norway

Stats and Achievement 20/21:- Dortmund: 41 goals, 12 assists

Won DFB-Pokal.

One of the superstars alongside Kylian Mbappe who could really become the face of the game in the years to come is Erling Haaland. The striker from Norway surprised everyone when he played for the Austrian club, RB Salzburg, and he impressed Borussia Dortmund so much that they bought him the next year. Manchester United were also in the race to buy the player, however, Haaland decided that he would try out in a relatively smaller club before going to one of the European giants.

He has since then been in impressive form for Dortmund, scoring 41 goals in 41 appearances across all competitions. He also helped the team win the DFB Polak, their first since 2017. Haaland was the third-highest scoring player in the Bundesliga, falling short to only Robert Lewandowski and Andre Silva. However, the potential that this player has is unbelievable and to average one goal per match is absolutely insane. That is why he earns the number eight spot on the Ballon d’Or list.

Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester City and Belgium

Stats and Achievement:- Man City: 10 goals, 18 assists | Belgium: 1 goal, 2 assists

Won Premier League & Carabao Cup.

“Oh Kevin De Bruyne”, the chant we can hear every time Manchester City plays a game. Yes, De Bruyne is probably the most perfect attacking midfielder in the world right now. The Belgian has the ability to produce multiple defense-breaking passes in a single game, he has the eye of an eagle when it comes to spotting out a teammate, and he is not afraid to go for a shot himself. The former Chelsea reject has shown the world what it means to sleep on him and now he is the most celebrated player in the Premier League.

After winning yet another Premier League and a League Cup, the player also picked up the PFA Player of the Year award. Scoring 10 goals and producing 18 assists in all competitions with Man City and then scoring one goal while providing two assists in Euros, De Bruyne has a lot going for him. However, what is not going for him is the fact that he lost in the UCL finals and the fact that Belgium yet again failed to win a tournament with their golden squad. This will surely affect the Belgian’s rankings and thus he only gets the seventh spot on the Ballon d’Or list.

Cristiano Ronaldo of Juventus and Portugal

Stats and Achievement 20/21:- Juventus: 36 goals, 4 assists | Portugal: 5 goals, 1 assist

Won Coppa Italia & Supercoppa Italiana.

Making a list for the potential Ballon d’Or winners can never be complete without the inclusion of this man, Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portugues had a great personal season with Juventus, scoring 36 goals in all competitions, 29 in the league alone. Had it not been for Ronaldo, Juventus might have finished outside the Champions League spots. It was a difficult season in Turin for the five-time Ballon d’Or winner, not individually but as a team.

The former Italian champions struggled to keep up with the two Milan sides and Antonio Conte ended their nine years of Italian dominance. This will be a big factor in deciding Ronaldo’s position in this list. In the Euros, Ronaldo once again had a fantastic individual run, winning the Golden Boot, which made up for Juve’s domestic failure. However, the Portuguese man was unable to retain the trophy which means that he only got two trophies last season, the Coppa Italia and the Supercoppa Italiana, thus he finishes on the sixth spot in the Ballon d’Or power rankings.

Kylian Mbappe of Paris Saint-Germain and France

Stats and Achievement 20/21:- PSG: 42 goals, 11 assists | France: 1 assist

Won Coupe de France & Trophee des Champions.

Although the French superstar had a horrible Euros, he still ends up extremely high on this list due to his performances for Paris Saint-Germain. The 22-year-old is still tipped to be the next big thing after the retirement of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo however, he needs to start performing consistently like those two, if he is to ever win the amount of Ballon d’Ors that they did.

As for now, he had a fantastic club season, scoring 42 goals in 47 matches, across all competitions. He also managed to get 11 assists across all competitions, which goes on to show that he is not a selfish player on the field. Although he had an amazing season individually, PSG as a team suffered from a surprising lack of trophies. The French giants who are always expected to perform on the big stages, failed to win the domestic league, as well as the European tournament. This will be a big hit in Mbappe’s chances of winning the Ballon d’Or. Along with that, an underwhelming Euros means that the french star only secures a number five on the Ballon d’Or power rankings.

N’golo Kante of Chelsea and France

Stats and Achievement 20/21:- Chelsea: 3 assists

Won Champions League.

The Chelsea midfielder who was hailed as the best central defensive midfielder was knocked out of the Euros in a pretty embarrassing manner. Kante had skyrocketed to the number one spot in many Ballon d’Or debates and rankings, due to his spectacular end to the season with the Blues. The Frenchman won three consecutive ‘man of the match’ in the UEFA Champions League, two against Real Madrid in the semi-finals and one against Manchester City in the finals.

Chelsea’s win in the UCL was a complete shock to the footballing world and due to this, Kante was being looked at as the next Ballon d’Or winner. However, after a pretty lackluster performance by France in the Euros, his chances of winning the prestigious award may have faded away. Kante and Pogba were two of the consistent performers for Les Bleus however, after being knocked out by Switzerland, Kante can only be awarded a number four on the Ballon d’Or power rankings.

3 Jorginho of Chelsea and Italy

Stats and Achievement 20/21:- Chelsea: 8 goals, 2 assists

Won Euro 2020 & Champions League.

One player who was not considered by anyone to be on this list could now give strong competition to the rest of the players on this list, that player being none other than Jorginho. The misunderstood Italian who followed his coach, Maurizio Sarri, to Chelsea, was often criticized by fans for not contributing much to the game, and not having enough impact. However, his role is not to get goals or even produce a lot of assists, his role is to control the midfield and dictate the pace of the game.

His role is quite similar to Kante however, due to his lack of speed and flashiness, many people tend to overlook his work. He had a wonderful season at Chelsea with Kante by his side, and they went on to win the Champions League in spectacular fashion. However, it did not stop there, Jorginho then went on to have a fantastic Euros with Italy and ultimately won the tournament with the Azzurri. He orchestrated the midfield and set the record for the most interceptions in the tournament, 25 (previously held by Marcel Desailly). His double victory means that he has a very good chance of winning the Ballon d’Or although he does not have high stats like the rest. He ends up in the number three spot on the Ballon d’Or list.

Robert Lewandowski of Bayern Munich and Poland

Stats and Achievement 20/21:- Bayern: 48 goals, 9 assists | Poland: 3 goals

Won Bundesliga & Club World Cup.

The Polish striker has broken all expectations yet again after another magical season with Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga. The former Borussia Dortmund man had a brilliant 2018/19 season and he deserved to win the Ballon d’Or that season. However, due to the Covid pandemic being at an all-time high, France Football decided that the ceremony should be canceled.

The next season, he once again shocked the world by scoring an insane number of goals in the Bundesliga and by breaking Gerd Muller’s legendary record. While he may not have won the UCL last season, Bayern would have surely given Paris Saint-Germain more of a challenge had he not been injured at that time. Poland however, did not do too well in Euros and that could affect his chances of winning. Still, he had a record-breaking season and thus he deserves to be number two in the Ballon d’Or power rankings.

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