Lionel Messi wins SEVENTH Ballon d'Or as Cristiano Ronaldo SNUBS ceremony, Mahrez-Man City contract EXCLUSIVE

LIONEL MESSI has won an unprecedented seventh Ballon d'Or.

The Argentine edged out Robert Lewandowski and Chelsea's Jorginho, who came third.

Messi's great rival Cristiano Ronaldo, who did not attend the ceremony, finished down in sixth place.

That marks the first time the Portugal captain has finished outside the top three since 2010.

Barcelona's Pedri wasn announced as winner of the Kopa Trophy, honouring the world's best young player, and Lewandowski won the new Striker of the Year award.

Meanwhile Alexia Petellas of Barcelona won the Women's Ballon d'Or.

Ballon d'or top 10

  1. LIONEL MESSI
  2. Robert Lewandowski
  3. Jorginho
  4. Karim Benzema
  5. N'Golo Kante
  6. Cristiano Ronaldo
  7. Mo Salah
  8. Kevin de Bruyne
  9. Kylian Mbappe
  10. Gianluigi Donnarumma

Get all the latest football news, updates and transfer gossip below…

  • Kealan Hughes

    PREM COVID SPIKE

    Prem chiefs have recorded the highest number of positive Covid cases since August.

    Training ground testers found seven positive results from 3,379 samples at the 20 Prem clubs over the week to Sunday.

    That was up one case from the previous week and represented the highest total since 16 positive results were analysed between August 16 and 22.

    League bosses, though, remain relaxed as the positive cases were just 0.2per cent of the total number of tests and it is not expected to impact on the continuing roll-out of in-person press conferences.

    Up to 100 players and staff at each club are now tested per week.

    Restrictions including mask wearing on public transport and in shops have been re-introduced by the Government.

  • Etienne Fermie

    GOOD MORNING FOOTY FANS

    Lionel Messi is the 2021 Ballon d’Or winner after being crowned at last night’s ceremony in Paris.

    The Argentina ace scooped his SEVENTH award in front of a star-studded crowd.

    Messi saw off competition from Robert Lewandowski and Jorginho to take home the top prize.

    But rival Cristiano Ronaldo could only finish in 6th place.

    Elsewhere, Gianluigi Donnarumma was named Best Goalkeeper while Pedri took the Best Youngster award.

    Chelsea were crowned Club of the Year, while Lewandowski was given the Best Striker gong.

    Meanwhile, SunSport can exclusively reveal Man City have stepped up their efforts to extend Riyad Mahrez's contract.

    The Algerian winger, 30, has around a year-and-a-half left on his £160,000-a-week deal.

    Mahrez is happy in Manchester, and is keen to stay after getting engaged during the summer.

    Pep Guardiola want to get fresh terms in place before Mahrez jets off to Cameroon to play for champions Algeria at the African Cup of Nations.

    If a new contract cannot be agreed, a shock exit next summer could be on the cards with PSG keen.

    Finally, Jamie Carragher claims Rio Ferdinand once tried to push through a sensational transfer to Chelsea.

    Hitting back at the Man Utd icon for comments about never winning a title, Carragher tweeted: "Not talking titles but the deal for Ronaldo to Man Utd which you arranged.

    "No Premier League for me but Sky like my opinions!

    "No trophy in your career without Alex Ferguson and when you stopped winning Premier League at Manchester United you tried to move to Chelsea so please stop giving it the big United fan one! #olesatthewheel."

  • Anthony Chapman

    EXCLUSIVE BY DAN CUTTS

    Man City have stepped up their efforts to extend Riyad Mahrez's contract.

    The Algerian winger, 30, has around a year-and-a-half left on his £160,000-a-week deal.

    Mahrez is happy in Manchester, and is keen to stay after getting engaged during the summer.

    Pep Guardiola want to get fresh terms in place before Mahrez jets off to Cameroon to play for champions Algeria at the African Cup of Nations.

    If a new contract cannot be agreed, a shock exit next summer could be on the cards with PSG keen.

  • Anthony Chapman

    CLOSE CALL

    Lionel Messi beat Robert Lewandowski to the Ballon d'Or by just 33 points.

    Full details of votes show Messi picked up 613 points to Lewandowski's 580.

    The votes are taken from national team captains, managers and nominated journalists.

    However, it's still more than Messi beat Virgil van Dijk with in 2019, with the Argentina ace squeezing past the Dutch defender by just seven points.

    However, spare a thought for Alfredo Di Stefano and Kevin Keegan, who missed out by just three points in 1956 and 1972 respectively.

    NINTCHDBPICT000696957717Credit: EPA
  • Anthony Chapman

    LEO KING

    Why exactly did Messi win this year's trophy?

    Well, Barcelona may have had an awful year.

    But Messi still scored 28 goals in 2021 for the Catalans.

    Messi, who has netted four strikes for new club PSG, also hit the target eight times with Argentina this year – making for a grand total of 40 goals.

    And the legendary striker also led his country to Copa America glory – his first-ever international honour.

    Credit: AFP
    Credit: AFP
  • Anthony Chapman

    KYL-ER BLOW

    Kylian Mbappe looked furious after finishing NINTH in the 2021 Ballon d'Or vote.

    For the PSG ace, it was his LOWEST-EVER finish since first cracking the list in 2017.

    That year, he took seventh after bursting onto the scene with Monaco, before finishing fourth in 2018.

    The PSG striker came sixth in 2019, while the 2020 Ballon d'Or ceremony was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Anthony Chapman

    WHAT'S GONE RON?

    He couldn't make Man Utd's starting XI against Chelsea on Sunday.

    And tonight Cristiano Ronaldo finished sixth in the Ballon d'Or rankings, with rival Messi scooping his seventh trophy.

    It was the first time since 2010 that Ronnie failed to make the top three.

    And after snubbing the awards ceremony in Paris, Ronaldo blasted the editor of France Football – the Ballon d'Or organisers – for 'lies' said in the build-up.

    Credit: Getty
  • Anthony Chapman

    'LEW WAS ROBBED'

    Fans have been venting their frustration on Twitter after seeing Lewandowski miss out on the Ballon d'Or.

    A tweet read: "Daylight robbery. I think Lewandowski should have won that award."

    One said: "I'm a fan of Messi, but this year he didn't deserve the Ballon d'Or. Lewandowski did so much more for this trophy."

    Another post read: "Lewandowski absolutely robbed in plain day light."

    Another user wrote: "I wonder what Lewandowski must do to win the Ballon d'Or – Walk on water????"

    Credit: Reuters
  • Anthony Chapman

    HERE'S TO LEW

    Messi also sensationally claimed runner-up Lewandowski should have been handed the award.

    The Pole was a dead cert to win it last year, but the event was scrapped due to Covid.

    Messi added: “It is a huge honour to fight with Robert [Lewandowski]. 

    “Last year you were the winner and I think France Football should give it to you.”

    Credit: Reuters
    Credit: AFP
  • Anthony Chapman

    MESSI REACTS

    The 2021 Ballon d'Or winner has spoken!

    Messi, who was handed his award by close pal Luis Suarez, beamed: “It is incredible to be here again. Two years ago I thought that it was my last year and now I am here again. I am very happy, very excited and wanting to fight for new challenges.

    “I do not know how long I have left but I hope it will be a long time. I want to thank my teammates from Barcelona and PSG, and especially the Argentina team. 

    “I won this award and I had the feeling that I was missing something and this year I was able to achieve it.

    “A large part of this trophy is because of what we did in the Copa America, so thanks to my teammates, this is also yours. My wife, my children, my father, my mother are here.”

    Credit: Reuters
    Credit: Reuters
  • Anthony Chapman

    AWARDS RECAP

    • Best Youngster: PEDRI (Barcelona, Spain)
    • Best Goalkeeper: GIANLUIGI DONNARUMMA (PSG, Italy)
    • Best Striker: ROBERT LEWANDOWSKI (Bayern Munich, Poland)
    • Best Club: CHELSEA FC (England)
    • Women's Ballon d'Or: ALEXIA PUTELLAS (Barcelona, Spain)
    • Ballon d'Or: LIONEL MESSI (PSG, Argentina)

    STILL GOT IT

    Another superb evening for the one and only Messi.

    New club, new country, but some things never change…


    SIMPLY THE BEST

    He might be 34 years old but Messi shows no sign of slowing down.

    The legendary forward has now added another Ballon d'Or to his collection.


    BALLON D'OR TOP TEN

    • 1st – Lionel Messi (PSG)
    • 2nd – Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)
    • 3rd – Jorginho (Chelsea)
    • 4th – Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)
    • 5th – N'Golo Kante (Chelsea)
    • 6th – Cristiano Ronaldo (Man Utd)
    • 7th – Mo Salah (Liverpool)
    • 8th – Kevin De Bruyne (Man City)
    • 9th – Kylian Mbappe (PSG)
    • 10th – Gianluigi Donnarumma (PSG)

    AND THE WINNER IS

    PSG and Argentina superstar LIONEL MESSI is the official 2021 Ballon d'Or winner!

    Messi pipped Bayern Munich and Germany striker ROBERT LEWANDOWSKI to the top prize.

    It is Messi's seventh Ballon d'Or win, putting him two clear of Cristiano Ronaldo.

    • Anthony Chapman

      NUMBER DON

      Gianluigi Donnarumma is officially the world's top goalkeeper.

      The ace was presented with his Yachine Trophy award by host Didier Drogba.

      Credit: AP
    • Anthony Chapman

      CLUB OF THE YEAR

      European champions Chelsea have been crowned Club of the Year at the Ballon d'Or ceremony after having 11 players nominated.

      Thomas Tuchel famously led his team to the Champions League just months after taking charge.

      Meanwhile, Chelsea Women won yet another league title and were finalists in the Women's Champions League.

    • Anthony Chapman

      BALLON D'OR COUNTDOWN

      Chelsea and France star N'GOLO KANTE has finished 5th this year.

      International teammate and Real Madrid striker KARIM BENZEMA ends up in 4th spot.

      And Chelsea and Italy playmaker JORGINHO takes home 3rd.

      That leaves just Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski!

    • Anthony Chapman

      TOP PRIZE

      Barcelona midfielder Alexia Putellas took home the top women's prize at tonight's ceremony.

      She was joined on stage by her mother and sister in heartwarming scenes.

      And PSG ace Kylian Mbappe presented Putellas with her deserved award.

      Credit: AFP
      Credit: Reuters
    • Anthony Chapman

      YACHINE TROPHY – FINAL STANDS

      • 1st: Gianluigi Donnarumma (PSG)
      • 2nd: Edouard Mendy (Chelsea)
      • 3rd: Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid)
      • 4th: Ederson (Man City)
      • 5th: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich)
      • 6th: Emi Martinez (Aston Villa)
      • 7th: Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester)
      • 8th: Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid)
      • 9th: Keylor Navas (PSG)
      • 10th: Samir Handanovic (Inter Milan)

      YACHINE WINNER

      Gianluigi Donnarumma has been awarded the Yachine Trophy for Best Goalkeeper.

      The PSG ace was Player of the Tournament as he led Italy to Euro 2020 glory.

      Donnarumma also helped AC Milan return to the Champions League before sealing a free transfer to the French capital.

      • Anthony Chapman

        BALLON D'OR COUNTDOWN

        Man City and Belgium star KEVIN DE BRUYNE has finished 8th in the rankings.

        In 7th is Liverpool and Egypt ace MO SALAH.

        And Man Utd's Portuguese striker CRISTIANO RONALDO takes 6th.

      • Anthony Chapman

        WOMEN'S WINNER

        Spain and Barcelona star Alexia Putellas has been crowned the 2021 Women's Ballon d'Or winner.

        She saw off teammate Jennifer Hermoso and Chelsea's Australian ace Sam Kerr to take the top prize.

        Arsenal's Vivienne Miedema came 4th, with Dutch star Lieke Martens 5th.

      • Anthony Chapman

        EYES ON PRIZE

        Pedri and Robert Lewandowski are tonight's winners so far.

        And the race for the top prize is heating up, with more names set to be announced shortly.

        Credit: AFP
        Credit: AFP
      • Anthony Chapman

        BALLON D'OR COUNTDOWN

        The next two names on the Ballon d'Or list have been revealed.

        PSG and Italy goalkeeper GIANLUIGI DONNARUMMA has finished in 10th.

        While PSG teammate and France star KYLIAN MBAPPE has taken 9th place.

        Source: Read Full Article