The Argentine-inspired Barcelona to a domestic double last season but the awards season is proving that continental cup competitions now trump all
According to the majority of those who vote for The Best FIFA Men’s Player Award, Lionel Messi does not rank among the game’s top three players over the past 12 months.
Gary Lineker was among the many absolutely baffled by Messi’s omission from the podium places, arguing that “no one that understands the game” could have excluded him from their top three.
The former England international reasoned, “Barcelona won the double largely thanks to Messi.”
A very valid point but then, anyone who understands the awards game will realise that consistent brilliance over the course of a domestic season no longer counts for anything.
League campaigns, rather than cup competitions, were once considered the true test of both a team’s and a player’s quality but no longer.
How else can we explain Messi failing to make FIFA’s top three or even the top four of UEFA’s Player of the Year award? There was no better player over the course of the 2017-18 campaign.
Obviously, the reason why the No.10 wasn’t regarded as a contender for the top spot was that Barcelona capitulated in the quarter-finals of the Champions League at Roma before Argentina endured a calamitous World Cup campaign.
The Albiceleste’s last-16 exit in Russia resulted in Messi’s claim on the title of the greatest player in history being called into question once again, something that even the great Ronaldinho finds ludicrous.
“He’s the best in history, no doubt,” the Brazilian told Sport earlier this week. “Nobody has done what Messi’s done.”