It is easy to become a little inured but Lionel Messis achievements are astonishing 54 aims, the European golden boot and Endorses League top-scorer
Was it ever actually in doubt? Lionel Messi is Very best: it’s official. On a nighttime of magnificence, power-play and deliciously terrifying tuxedos Messi prevailed his seventh major player of the year award in Milan on Monday, a first Fifa The Best gong to go with his five Ballons d’Or and one publication of the now defunct World Player of the Year.
Virgil van Dijk had been numerous people’s favourite to acquire the vote. Instead this was a case of Messi redux, a first such gift since his 2015 Ballon d’Or. During which era Cristiano Ronaldo, his counterpart in the shared modern Goat-dom, has hoovered up four members of these increasingly overblown pillages. But not so now as Ronaldo came third and was left doing his best to project a veneer of magnanimous approval while Messi took the silver cup.
The women’s award was acquired by Megan Rapinoe, reinforced for a dazzling World Cup. Coaches of its first year were Jurgen Klopp and Jill Ellis. And Fifa will be pleased with its handiwork, another routine of label primping, of shoulders flexed, of influence reasserted.
It is the fourth experience the Very best awards ought to have staged. They are a re-working of the old world player of its first year which, in a rare outbreak of common sense, was folded into the Ballon d’Or in 2010. Nature abhors an honors vacuum-clean and The Best was relaunched in 2016.
To date the top two, the best of Very best, has spoken Ronaldo-Messi, Ronaldo-Messi, Modric-Ronaldo, and now Messi-Van Dijk. There will be some disappointment, and not just among Liverpool fans, that Van Dijk failed to take top spot. Victory in Milan would have garlanded a impressive rise for a 28 -year-old centre-back who was turning out in mid-table with Southampton precisely over one and a half years ago; an nobility footballer with no great flounces or showy invention in his tournament, exemplar instead of the low-throttle skills of defensive intelligence, solidity and leadership.
All individual medals in football are a bit jarring. Marketing expeditions and the religion of celebrity culture may tell us otherwise but fetishising the individual proceeds against the essence of all unit sport. Real footballing beauty, and surely any meaningful thought of success, is inside the collective.
In this ignite there will be a temptation for some to see a intimate of flags of convenience to this result. Messi remains a mega-brand, sponsor-catnip and perfect podium-candy for the unctuous Gianni Infantino. Lest we forget, Messi was censored for three months from international football this year after accusing umpires at the Copa America of bias, all of which is apparently forgotten when it comes to nighttimes such as these.
Yet there is an unarguable kind of sense here. This was a straight referendum. The three-man shortlist was drawn up by” a board of football experts” and votes throw by national crew tutors and captains and a group of Fifa-approved” fans from all over the world “.
At the end of which the presence of Van Dijk on the platform is a welcome turn and even fairly revolutionary. This is a player whose interest lies exclusively in improving the combined effect of his squad. If Liverpool are the best club team in the world right now, Van Dijk has been the engine to this success, just as Liverpool’s rise is a triumph of team-building, the submerging of the individual in the collective will. It is a process accepted now at the most vainglorious of gifts dos.
Messi is still a deserving winner. It is easy to become a little inured to this, but his figures are once again startling. During the qualifying period, 9 July 2018 to 13 July this year, Messi played 58 plays and tallied 54 points. He commanded Barcelona to the La Liga designation, won the European golden boot and was also Champ League top-scorer.
Against this Van Dijk played 59 games, played a part in 29 clean expanses and was husband of the competitor in the Champions League final. Ronaldo tallied 31 points in 47 plays, triumphed a Serie A entitle and captained Portugal to Nations League glory, a wonderful effort aged 34 and in a new team, even for a high-functioning replicant super-being.
Still, though, Messi is something else. His legs have slowed a little and his character modified. But he remains a luminous, transcendent talent, with the power to ennoble even an party as inane and vacuous as Very best. Frankly one could have given him the gong just for his performance at Wembley against Tottenham, when he transferred and dribbled and generally performed under a height that would surely match anything ever seen on an English pitch.
So for now put out more pennants and hinder dishing up those gobs of metal. As with Ronaldo, we will feel the true weight of that much-garlanded proximity only when it is finally gone.
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