Luka Modrić had a brilliant World Cup but let’s be honest. He shouldn’t have won the Ballon d’Or last year.
Everyone just got bored of Lionel Messi.
His brilliance has been normalised and now the golden trophy deserves to be back with its rightful owner.
Throughout 2018/19, Messi guided Barça to LaLiga glory, scoring 36 goals and assisting 15 in 34 appearances.
He also won the Pichichi for Spain’s top scorer, the golden boot for being Europe’s leading marksman (56 goals) and netted more Champions League goals than anybody (12) last term.
“Messi is the number one in everything,” said Kylian Mbappé in May, while Mats Hummels labelled him “the best footballer I have ever seen”.
Critics will point towards the Anfield nightmare where Barcelona surrendered a 3-0 Champions League semi-final lead, but Messi scored twice at Camp Nou and even put Ousmane Dembélé – who fluffed his lines – clear in injury time.
And what about Copa América?
For Argentina, the 32-year-old completed: more take ons (21), more shots (17) and created more chances (11) than any other Albiceleste player. He cannot be expected to do everything.
But that was last season! What about this season?
I’m glad you asked.
As of December 2, only Karim Benzema has scored more than him (9) in LaLiga despite Messi missing five weeks of the season and nobody has more assists (5) than him.
Messi also became the first ever player to score in 15 consecutive Champions League seasons, scoring against 34 teams in the competition – more than any other player.
And those are just the statistics.
Who else can still draw the breath and bring a crowd of nearly 100,000 to its feet?
What other player can score goals like his slaloming individual effort against Getafe, or send Jerôme Boateng spinning like a Beyblade before dinking Manuel Neuer?
He sees passes before Nostradamus and caresses every ball like his first born son.
Never again will we see such perfect timing and technical excellence, executed with such consistency.
Football is a team sport but one player is always head and shoulders above the rest.
Which is exactly why Messi should be adding number six to his mantlepiece.