Local coaches divided on Messi's Ballon d'Or winFriday, December 03, 2021
BY DAVID DUNKLEY
Local football coaches are divided as to whether Argentine football star, Lionel Messi, should have won the Ballon d'Or on Monday.
The Ballon d'Or, which translates into Golden Ball, is awarded to the male footballer believed to be the world's best player. It is seen as football's most prestigious individual award.
It was a record-extending seventh win for Messi, who plays for French team Paris Saint-Germain. He narrowly edged out Polish striker Robert Lewandowski, who plays for German football giants, Bayern Munich.
But former national senior men's football team assistant coach, Bradley Stewart, does not believe Messi is most deserving of the award.
“It's kind of tricky because there are a lot of players who would have done better than Messi in their domestic leagues,” Bradley said, pointing out Lewandoski as one of them. “The only difference I would think is that internationally Messi would have won a trophy but all his achievements have been at the club level. And I think there are other players that would have done much better than him when you compare the volume of work that they would have done at the international level and at the club level.”
Stewart said he does not know off-hand, statistically, who would have been the best.
”If Messi is at the top of the list (statistically) I have no problem with that, but I think there are a lot more people who are as deserving and I don't think they should be looking at people who have won already,” he said.
Donovan Duckie, also a former national coach, shared similar sentiments. “I am not sure that Messi is the most consistent player throughout the period that they used to determine that,” he told OBSERVER ONLINE. ”But sometimes I suspect that there is more to the Ballon d'Or than just the process that they used.”
He said there were a lot more consistent players who could have been chosen, naming Messi's PSG teammates Kylian Mbappe and Neymar among them.
“I definitely don't agree with him winning,” added Duckie, who currently coaches Jamaica Premier League team Vere United.
But former national Under-17 football coach, Andrew Edwards, believes Messi was the “natural choice”.
“While the criteria for awarding the Ballon d'Or is not quite clear, it would seem Messi did have the most prolific individual statistics for an attacker in 2020-21. That in my opinion would make him the natural choice,” Edwards said.
Football manager and current coach of Mona High School's Manning Cup team, Craig Butler, agreed with Edwards.
“I believe that he has earned the rights over the years and he has continued to show quality. Yes, I believe he should have won. He is brilliant,” Butler said.
Well-known football coach Anthony Patrick said based on the players who were up for the award, anyone could have won.
“It's neither here nor there to me...It could have gone anywhere,” he shared.