Why Messi deserved to win his record 7th Ballon d’Or
Messi started the year off in great form as he provided 4 goals and 1 assist in Barça’s first three LaLiga games. Unfortunately, this was followed by heartbreak in the Supercopa final, which was lost 2-3 to Bilbao with Leo getting sent off for the first time in his Barça career.
However, this only seemed to motivate Messi. In the following weeks, he once again picked up steam, helping his club recover their dominant LaLiga form. Between December 22, 2020 and April 5, 2021, Barça won 13 out of 14 games. 19 goals and 6 assists by Leo during this period.
On April 17, Messi won the Copa del Rey with Barça, scoring 2 goals in the 4-0 final win over Bilbao.
In the final games of the season, Barça’s form dropped massively, which caused them to lose the title to Atlético. Messi, however, continued delivering: in the last 7 LaLiga games, he provided 7 goals and 1 assist, carrying a dysfunctional Blaugrana side.
In total, those were Messi’s stats for Barcelona in 2021:
In the summer, the Copa América took place, which ended up being arguably Messi’s greatest success of his career
The group stage saw Messi score 3 goals and provide 2 assists in 4 games. He was directly involved in the crucial goals against Chile (1-1) and Uruguay (1-0). Finally, he helped Argentina secure number 1 spot in the group with 2 goals and 1 assist in the last game vs. Bolivia.
In the quarter final, Messi arguably delivered his most impressive showing of the tournament. After assisting the first two goals, Leo scored a beautiful free kick in stoppage time to lead Argentina to a 3-0 win over Ecuador and into the next round.
Against Colombia in the semi-final, Messi assisted Argentina’s only goal to help his team reach the penalty shootout. Despite suffering an ankle injury during the game, he scored the first penalty for the Albiceleste, who went on to win 3-2 and reach the final vs. Brazil.
On July 11, Messi fulfilled his life-long dream as Argentina beat Brazil 1-0 at the Maracanã to win the Copa América. This was Messi’s least noticeable performance of the tournament, but he fought as hard as everyone else to help Argentina win their first trophy since 1995.
In total, Messi sccored 4 goals and provided 5 assists at the Copa América, which made him joint top scorer as well as top assist provider of the competition.
In addition, Leo received the award for the best player of the tournament.
From January 1 to October 24, Messi put up the following numbers:
He won the following trophies and individual honors:
Copa del Rey
LaLiga top scorer (Pichichi)
Copa América top scorer
Copa América most assists
Copa América best player