The captain of the Poland football team, Robert Lewandowski, considered the decision “appropriate” to suspend Russia from their World Cup playoff semi-final which had been due to take place later this month, with Poland advancing to the final. ‘Probably each of us could not have imagined a different situation’, he said.
On Tuesday, FIFA confirmed that Russia have been removed from the qualification process for the 2022 World Cup. The decision comes in the wake of the country’s ongoing war in Ukraine, with Poland given a bye into the Path B playoff final on March 29.
Poland had been due to face Russia in the semi-final of the playoff process days earlier, but following the invasion of Ukraine, the Polish FA and players made it clear that they did not want to face Russia.
Poland will now face either Sweden or the Czech Republic in the final.
‘Probably each of us could not have imagined a different situation. I think this is the right decision. It would be difficult to choose the team with whom we could play in the qualification semi-finals (instead of Russia – editorial note), because any of those that would not be selected would feel disadvantaged. ’
‘For us, the most important thing will be to focus on the preparations on the final game, play it as best we can and do everything we can to advance to the final stage of the World Cup in Qatar’ – Lewandowski said in an interview with Polsat Sport after a record-breaking Champions League performance for Bayern Munich.
Poland will play for the promotion to the World Cup Final on March 29 with the winner between Sweden and the Czech Republic.
‘The final qualification match will be interesting. The training under our new coach will be beneficial for us. It doesn’t matter if we would play two games or one. In terms of the fact that we only have to win one match and surely we will be in the World Cup Final Stage.’ Lewandowski analyzed.
At the beginning of this week, the Bayern Munich and Poland star, Lewandowski cut his ties with Huawei amid reports the Chinese technology company is helping Russia amid invasion of Ukraine.
Argentina and Paris Saint-Germain forward Lionel Messi won the 2021 Ballon d’Or, his record-extending seventh player of the year award in his career. He beat out Bayern Munich and Poland forward Robert Lewandowski, who was the other top contender.
FC Barcelona star attacking midfielder Alexia Putellas won the women’s award, PSG goalkeeper Gigi Donnarumma was voted the best goalkeeper in the world, and another Barcelona player, 19-year-old Pedri, was named the best men’s Under-21 player in the world.
Robert Lewandowski was named the inaugural Striker of the Year as the top scorer for club and country, while Chelsea FC took home the Club of the Year with the most candidates across the Ballon d’Or awards.
LIONEL MESSI WINS HIS SEVENTH BALLON D’OR🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆
Lionel Messi has won an historic seventh Ballon d’Or after picking up the prestigious individual award at a ceremony in Paris.
The 34-year-old has now won the Ballon d’Or in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019 and 2021, meaning he has lifted the prize handed to the best player in world football more times than any other male player in its history, two clear of Cristiano Ronaldo.
Messi beat out Robert Lewandowski who finished in second place and Chelsea midfielder Jorghino who was ranked third in the voting.
The forward added to his 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2019 trophies after winning the Copa America for the first time with his country last July.
“It’s incredible to be here again. Two years ago I thought it was the last time. Winning the Copa America was key”, Messi said at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris.
Messi, who joined Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer from Barcelona during the summer, collected 613 points, with Bayern Munich’s Lewandowski, named best striker on Monday, getting 580.
Jorginho, who won the Champions League with Chelsea and the European Championship with Italy, ended up third on 460, ahead of France’s Karim Benzema and N’Golo Kante in fourth and fifth places respectively.
Club of the year: Chelsea FC
2021 was a memorable one for Chelsea and they have been handed the award for the Club of the Year!
Of course, Thomas Tuchel’s team won the Champions League and are top of the Premier League while Emma Hayes’ side made the final of the Women’s Champions League last season.
N’Golo Kante: 5th in the Ballon d’Or
Jorginho: 3rd in the Ballon d’Or
Chelsea: 2021 Club of the Year
What a run for Chelsea!
Best Goalscorer Award
Bayern Munich and Poland striker Lewandowski has won the Striker of the Year award! He enjoyed an excellent 2021, breaking Gerd Muller’s long-standing record for the most Bundesliga goals in a single season!
Italy and PSG goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma has won the 2021 Yashin Trophy, beating out Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy who had been tipped for the award.
Donnarumma won the Best Player award at Euro 2020 and made the switch from AC Milan to the French capital in the summer.
Gianluigi Donnarumma beats out the likes of Edouard Mendy (2nd), Jan Oblak (3rd), Ederson (4th), Manuel Neuer (5th), Emiliano Martinez (6th).
Women’s Ballon d’Or
What an extraordinary year it’s been for Women’s Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas, who is crowned the winner ahead of stars Jenni Hermoso, Sam Kerr and Vivianne Miedema.
Pedri has won the Kopa trophy handed to the best male player age 21 or under. It’s certainly true that the teenager had an incredible year for Barcelona and Spain!
Bukayo Saka came sixth in the voting with Mason Greenwood fifth and Jude Bellingham in second place!
2021 Kopa Trophy Ranking:
1 | Pedri 2 | Jude Bellingham 3 | Jamal Musiala 4 | Nuno Mendes 5 | Mason Greenwood 6 | Bukayo Saka 7 | Florian Wirtz 8 | Ryan Gravenberch 9 | Giovanni Reyna 9 | Jérémy Doku
More to follow… Keep refreshing the page to getting more information!
Men’s Ballon d’Or Rankings (2nd to 10th)
Lewandowski at 2nd place in the Ballon d’Or rankings
Kante 5th, Benzema 4th, Jorginho 3rd!
Ronaldo 6th, Salah 7th De Bruyne 8th
There will be no sixth Ballon d’Or for Cristiano Ronaldo this evening with the Portuguese forward finishing sixth in the ranking! Sixth-place Ronaldo finishes outside the top five in the Ballon d’Or for the first time since 2010.
Kevin de Bruyne has been ranked sixth in the Ballon d’Or voting with Mohamed Salah in seventh place! Both players have enjoyed brilliant years with Salah arguably in the form of his life right now!
Of course, de Bruyne helped Manchester City to their third Premier League title in four years.
14 days to go! The winners of the 2021 Ballon d’Or awards are set to be announced in November, with Lionel Messi bidding to win the men’s prize for a record-extending seventh time. Robert Lewandowski is his main rival, while Barcelona’s Alexia Putellas and Chelsea’s Sam Kerr look to be the favourites for the women’s Ballon d’Or.
The 2021 men’s Ballon d’Or winner will be announced later this month with Lionel Messi, Robert Lewandowski and Jorginho the front-runners to win the award.
The ceremony was not held last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and it looks a close race to decide this year’s winner. The women’s Ballon d’Or will also be held for the third time, with Barcelona’s Alexia Putellas and Chelsea’s Sam Kerr among the favourites.
Here’s all you need to know about the ceremony, the favourites, and how to follow…
WHEN IS THE 2021 BALLON D’OR CEREMONY?
The ceremony will take place in Paris on November 29, 2021.
The initial 30-player shortlist is assembled by an editorial team at France Football magazine. A jury of journalists representing a variety of nations then votes for the players they believe should come in first, second and third.
WHO HAS BEEN NOMINATED FOR THE MEN’S AWARD?
Lionel Messi is the current holder of the trophy after being crowned the winner in 2019, and after a magnificent year where he played 48 games, scored 40 goals and led Argentina to their first Copa America title since 1993, his former team-mate Luis Suarez believes that the Paris-Saint Germain star is a no-brainer for the award.
“For the Ballon d’Or, you should not only have to look at what someone has done in a year, but you also have to look at how someone is as a player,” Suarez told Ole. “I believe that Messi has no rival.”
Messi won the player of the tournament as Argentina lifted the Copa America and he also led Barca to Copa del Rey success before leaving in the summer. Even though he has made a slow start at PSG, Barcelona defender Gerard Pique believes Messi has the all-around factors that makes him deserving of the award.
“I think Leo will win Ballon d’Or for sure,” he told Spanish broadcaster Ibai Llanos. “If it’s valuing trophies plus performance plus figures…The winner is also Leo. Leo should have won more than seven times.”
But Messi faces a strong rival in Robert Lewandowski.
Lewandowski scored 41 goals in 29 Bundesliga games last season to break Gerd Muller’s 49-year record. He also finished as the top scorer in Europe and broke a club record for scoring in 19 consecutive matches for Bayern Munich. “I can’t think of anyone else deserving the award like he does after he over the past years continuously delivered goals,” said Bayern head coach Julian Nagelsmann.
Lewandowski’s goals helped Bayern win five trophies, while he has also netted nine goals in 11 appearances for Poland this year. “Collectively and individually I don’t think I could have done more,” he said.
If the award comes down to weight of trophies then Chelsea midfielder Jorginho also has a case.
The Italian was named the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year for the 2020/2021 season after winning the Champions League and Euro 2020 within a few months of each other. While he doesn’t have the same goal stats as Messi and Lewandowski, Jorginho is hopeful that others factors will be taken into account in the voting.
“It’s not up to me to say if I should win the Ballon d’Or, but it would be an incentive for other players, to show that not only goals are taken into account.” Jorginho says that if he had a vote then it would go to Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne.
“I believe I’d vote for Kevin De Bruyne for everything he’s been doing and for the beautiful football he’s been showing in recent years. For those who like football, it’s great to see him play because he understands football, he is a player with above-average intelligence.”
De Bruyne is behind the likes of Karim Benzema, Mohamed Salah and Gianluigi Donnarumma in the betting.
Full list of men’s nominees: Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Nicolo Barella (Inter Milan), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United), Ruben Dias (Manchester City), Gianluigi Donnarumma (Paris Saint-Germain), Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United), Phil Foden (Manchester City), Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund), Jorginho (Chelsea), Harry Kane (Tottenham), N’Golo Kante (Chelsea), Simon Kjaer (AC Milan), Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich), Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea), Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City), Lautaro Martinez (Inter Milan), Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain), Lionel Messi (Paris Saint-Germain), Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Gerard Moreno (Villarreal), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain), Pedri (Barcelona), Mohamed Salah (Liverpool), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Luis Suarez (Atletico Madrid)
WHO IS THE NOMINATED FOR THE WOMEN’S AWARD?
Alexia Putellas is favourite to add the Ballon d’Or to her UEFA Women’s Player of the Year Award. The Barcelona midfielder was key to her side’s treble-winning season, scoring in the Champions League final and netting twice in the Copa de la Reina final. Sam Kerr looks to be her main rival after a brilliant season for Chelsea that saw her win the Golden Boot in the Women’s Super League and fire her side to a league and cup double. She also impressed for Australia at the Olympics, scoring six goals in six games, and is one of five Chelsea players on the shortlist along with Denmark’s Pernille Harder, Sweden’s Magdalena Eriksson, Canada’s Jessie Fleming and England’s Fran Kirby.
Barcelona’s Jenni Hermoso is also in the running after continuing her superb goalscoring form, finishing as the top scorer in the league for the fifth time in six seasons. She also helped Barca win the Champions League with six goals in the tournament but missed the first two months of this season due to an ankle injury.
Full list of women’s nominees: Kadidiatou Diani (PSG), Fran Kirby (Chelsea), Jennifer Hermoso (Barcelona), Christiane Endler (Lyon), Christine Sinclair (Thorns FC), Ashley Lawrence (PSG), Irene Paredes (PSG, Barcelona), Jessie Fleming (Chelsea), Lieke Martens (Barcelona), Sandra Panos (Barcelona), Vivianne Miedema (Arsenal), Ellen White (Manchester City), Pernille Harder (Chelsea), Sam Mewis (North Carolina Courage), Wendie Renard (Lyon), Marie-Antoinette Katoto (PSG), Stina Blackstenius (Hacken), Magdalena Eriksson (Chelsea), Sam Kerr (Chelsea), Alexia Putellas (Barcelona)
WHO ARE THE BOOKMAKERS’ FAVOURITE TO WIN?
Lionel Messi 1/2 Robert Lewandowski 3/1 Mohamed Salah 25/1 Jorginho 33/1 Karim Benzema 33/1 Gianluigi Donnarumma 66/1
Who do you think will win Ballon d’Or these two years? Leave your comment below and share your favourite!