Ballon d'Or: Matthaus 'doesn't understand the world anymore' after Lewandowski misses out to Messi

By Sports Desk November 30, 2021

Bayern Munich great Lothar Matthaus "does not understand the world anymore" after Robert Lewandowski missed out to Lionel Messi for the 2021 Ballon d'Or award.

Poland international Lewandowski was considered the favourite to come out on top at Monday's ceremony in Paris following another impressive 12 months for Bayern.

The 33-year-old has scored 53 times in 42 appearances this calendar year so far – 15 more than any other player in Europe's top five leagues across all competitions.

He has averaged a goal every 67 minutes and also made history earlier this year by breaking Gerd Muller's 49-year-old record for the most goals in a Bundesliga season with 41.

Despite his impressive achievements in front of goal, Lewandowski finished second in the voting to Lionel Messi, who claimed a record-extending seventh Ballon d'Or.

Matthaus, who won the coveted trophy in 1990, was among those to question the final standings, which saw Jorginho finish third, Karim Benzema fourth and N'Golo Kante in fifth.

"To be honest, after this vote, I don't understand the world anymore," he told Sky Sport. 

"With all due respect to Messi and the other great nominated players, nobody deserves it like Lewandowski."

Lewandowski, who also missed out on the 2020 award after it was scrapped due to the COVID-19 pandemic, instead had to settle for the inaugural Striker of the Year award.

Bayern director Oliver Kahn was also surprised to see Messi pip Lewandowski to football's top individual prize.

"Lewandowski deserved the Ballon d'Or just as much as his top scorer trophy because he has performed at the highest level for years," Kahn said.

"But congratulations nonetheless to Lionel Messi. 

"Even without the Ballon d'Or, Lewy has long since arrived as one of the Olympus of football greats. He will still be a Ballon d'Or contender in the years to come."

While Messi had a rather more mixed campaign at club level compared to Lewandowski, the Paris Saint-Germain forward did inspire Argentina to Copa America glory in July.

Messi scored 28 goals in 29 games in the first half of 2021 with Barcelona before completing a shock transfer to PSG, for whom he has scored four goals in his first 11 games.

Lewandowski took to social media on Monday to congratulate the superstar forward on his latest triumph, which takes him two clear of five-time winner Cristiano Ronaldo.

"Congratulations Leo Messi and Alexia Putellas, winners of the #BallonDor2021, congratulations also to all nominated players," he tweeted.

"I won Striker of the Year Award and no player can win an individual award without the strongest team and loyal fans behind him. Thank you for your support."

Related items

  • Ronaldo neck injury leaves Man Utd with striker shortage for West Ham clash Ronaldo neck injury leaves Man Utd with striker shortage for West Ham clash

    Cristiano Ronaldo has emerged as an injury doubt for the Premier League match between Manchester United and West Ham on Saturday.

    The Portugal star played 71 minutes of the 3-1 win at Brentford on Wednesday before being substituted - a decision with which he was clearly annoyed.

    Interim manager Ralf Rangnick insisted he had no problem with the player becoming frustrated at going off and that it would not affect his chances of facing the Hammers at Old Trafford.

    However, Rangnick later confirmed Ronaldo suffered a neck injury during the victory over Brentford that could keep him out of the game.

    "Cristiano is a question mark because he has a problem with his neck," he said to MUTV on Friday.

    "He received treatment yesterday [Thursday] for two, three hours and we will have to wait to see how he feels today."

    Edinson Cavani missed the match at Brentford Community Stadium and he too is facing a race to be fit for the visit of David Moyes' men.

    "Edi hasn't been training with the team yet and will hopefully resume training today and then we'll take the final decision after the training session, [around] if he will be available for the game," Rangnick said.

    Losing Ronaldo and Cavani presents United with a possible striker shortage given Anthony Martial is attempting to secure a move away from the club.

    Rangnick left Martial out of the 2-2 draw at Aston Villa, saying the France international had told him he did not want to be involved – a claim Martial later disputed.

    Jesse Lingard will be available to face the club for whom he excelled on loan last season, while Jadon Sancho, who missed the Brentford match due to a family funeral, could be involved.

    "We need to see where Jadon stands," said Rangnick. "He didn't train yesterday. As you know, he attended a funeral on Wednesday and didn't want to train yesterday as he is still affected by that. We will have to see.

    "I will see him for training today and speak with him after the training session, to see if he is in the state of mind, and also his energy [is there], so he can be available for tomorrow."

    Aaron Wan-Bissaka will also be missing again with illness, while Victor Lindelof will sit out the game after a burglary of his family home, but midfielder Scott McTominay hopes to be involved after battling a back problem.

  • Australian Open: 'Nights like this mean everything' – Nadal Australian Open: 'Nights like this mean everything' – Nadal

    Australian Open favourite Rafael Nadal reflected on a "very special week" after he progressed to the fourth round in Melbourne for the 15th time in his career.

    Nadal cruised into a two-set lead against Karen Khachanov on Friday, though the Spaniard had to overcome a third-set fightback to win 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-1.

    The 35-year-old - who triumphed at the Melbourne Summer Set earlier in January - has won all six of the matches he has played so far in 2022.

    Nadal has endured a difficult time with injuries in recent seasons but, with Novak Djokovic out of the picture after his deportation from Australia this week, he has a record 21st grand slam triumph firmly in his sights.

    "It is a very special week for me, coming back," said Nadal, who was out of action from August until December, when he played in an exhibition event in Dubai.

    "Every single time I am able to play here is very special. I played against a great player and a good friend on Tour. It was my best match since I have come back without a doubt.

    "I have gone through some very tough times over the past year, but nights like tonight mean everything.

    "I keep fighting and going every day. I put a lot of effort in to be back with where I am today, so I am happy."

    Nadal has won all eight matches against Russian Khachanov, and he will face Adrian Mannarino, whose four-set win over Aslan Karatsev concluded late into the Melbourne night.

    He may only have won the Australian Open on one occasion, in 2009, but only Roger Federer (18) has reached the fourth round in Melbourne on more occasions than Nadal.

  • Stafford knows Rams must score big points to beat Brady and Buccaneers Stafford knows Rams must score big points to beat Brady and Buccaneers

    Matthew Stafford is convinced the Los Angeles Rams will have to put up big points to stand any chance of knocking Super Bowl champions the Tampa Bay Buccaneers out of the playoffs.

    Sunday's Divisional Round game at Raymond James Stadium will be the third NFL postseason meeting between the Rams and Buccaneers.

    The Rams have won the previous two as the teams combined for just 26 points in those games (9-0 Rams in 1989 NFC Championship, 11-6 Rams in 1999 NFC Championship). 

    But Stafford, whose side cruised past the Arizona Cardinals in a 34-11 win last week, expects a high-scoring affair this time around.

    Their Week 3 matchup this season did see plenty of scoring, and the Rams won 34-24, but Brady is a formidable opponent in the playoffs.

    "The biggest thing about going against a guy like Tom is just knowing his consistency and his ability to get his team in the end zone," said Stafford.

    "He's done a great job throughout his career, both in New England and in Tampa of scoring points and doing it kind of every which way.

    "Whether they're going to run it, throw it, throw it deep, throw underneath – whatever it is, he always has a great game plan to go out there and execute at a high level. 

    "So as an offense, we know we need to do the same. We have packed a great defense. Those guys are unbelievable players and dominated the game for us on Monday. 

    "But at the same time, as an offense, you know you're going to have to go out there and score points, and enough to compete with the team that's led by Tom. It's a challenge.

    "He's shown year in and year out how capable he is at doing that, especially this time of year. So it's a fun, exciting opportunity. We are playing the whole team, but he [Brady] is definitely a big part of it."

    The win over the Cardinals was Stafford's first career postseason victory, meaning the Bucs clash will be his first taste of action in the Divisional Round. He only had to throw a season-low 17 pass attempts last week.

    "That was just flow the game and nobody's ever talking about that number," he said. "We know we want to be balanced, like we always are. 

    "We are just trying to go out there and feel the flow of the game, I think it's a credit to our guys up front, moving those guys in creating rush lanes, our guys did a great job around the football. 

    "And then our defense was doing such a good job of giving us a short field. There's so many times where we had the ball with great field position, and those don't sometimes equate to long drives.

    "Less plays, less opportunities to throw the football, but I take it as a positive. 

    "I love throwing the ball, no doubt, but I love it when I hand it off, and our guys are getting 10 to 12 yards a pop. At this point I'll take [the yards] any way I can get them!

    "This is a great opportunity. We've earned these opportunities as a team. I've loved being a part of this team. So I'm hoping that we continue to earn more opportunities. That's the goal at this point.

    "Find ways to win games no matter what it looks like – hopefully, it looks great, like it did on Monday night, but sometimes games shakeout all different, you've got to find ways to win them."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.