Lionel Messi wins his seventh Ballon d’Or

Despite not having given the measure of his genius in 2021, first at Barcelona and later at PSG, Lionel Messi received his seventh Ballon d’Or this Monday in Paris, where he gradually acclimated to his new life.

The Copa América won in July, finally his first title with Argentina!, Has turned the balance of the votes in his favor for this prestigious award with which the best footballer of a calendar year is distinguished.

The “Albiceleste”, who won the continental title at the home of their great rival Brazil, had been waiting 28 years to celebrate a great title and the “Flea” … a lifetime!

Defeated three times in the final of the South American tournament (2007, 2015 and 2016), beaten in the final of the 2014 World Cup (in extra time against Germany 1-0), Messi believed himself cursed with his country, with which he had not been able have the same success that he had experienced at Barcelona.

Those fiascos to repetition led him in 2016, after losing the final on penalties against Chile, in a shoot-out in which he missed his shot, even led Messi to announce his retirement from the national team … before turning back in his decision a few months later.

At the Copa América-2021 in Brazil, which had been postponed for a year by the pandemic, Messi led “Albiceleste” to the title, defeating Seleçao 1-0 in the final. A success on which his seventh Ballon d’Or has been built.

On this occasion, it was not their performance at the club level that ended up deciding the journalists’ vote. His first part of the year at Barcelona, ​​with which he only won the Copa del Rey, was not at the level of previous seasons and his beginnings in Paris, after signing for PSG in August, have been more difficult than expected.

“You just have to rediscover the smile”

Although those who know him well try to justify it. “You just have to rediscover your smile, happiness, to regain your best football2, explained Jorge Sampaoli last Friday, who however did not live an easy relationship with” Pulga “when he led Argentina during the 2018 World Cup.

“He has spent his whole life in a club. Then he has changed, for another language, for another football. He will always be the best in the world,” insisted the current Marseille coach.

“It is a luxury to have Leo here and see him every Sunday. You have to understand his situation. Time will show how different he is from other players. He has given another level to Ligue 1,” reiterated Sampaoli.

At Paris SG, his fellow countryman Mauricio Pochettino also defends his star. “We are talking about the best player in the world,” the Rosario coach recently recalled.

“Having said that, you have to understand that he is a man, like us, who has to adapt to his new club, that the family adapts to a new culture,” Pochettino recalled.

“Let the people work, the players adapt; he has spent twenty years in Barcelona, ​​normal that he feels more at home in Barcelona. Everything is new here”, “Poche” had already warned at the end of September. “With time, work, and getting to know your peers, you are sure to be successful.”

Despite his difficult start in Paris, Messi scored his first goal with the PSG shirt in the Champions League against Manchester City and last Sunday he was decisive, giving all three assists in the victory against Saint Etienne (3-1).

The family acclimatizes

“We saw it in the past: Raí took a year to explode,” former PSG captain Dominique Bathenay reminds AFP in reference to the former Brazilian idol of the Parc des Princes.

As for his complicity with Neymar and Kylian Mbappé in the so-called “MNM”, “time is always needed, regardless of the quality of the players,” says Bathenay.

In any case, his acclimatization should get better and better, especially now that he is finalizing settling in his home in Neuilly-sur-Seine, a select city on the Parisian periphery.

And his family is also acclimatizing to his new life. His wife, Antonela Roccuzzo, is very happy to find herself in Paris, more glamorous than Barcelona, ​​where she can enjoy the City of Light, depending on her surroundings. In Catalonia, the Messi lived very far from the center of Barcelona.

Leo, in love with Antonela since he was 9 years old, must spend Christmas without his family, since his wife and three children plan to spend a month in Argentina coinciding with the holidays.

Although Messi no longer has to demonstrate his genius, he only has to confirm his physical condition, now that he has already turned 34.

And having broken his supposed spell with Argentina can free him in his last active years and concentrate on leading PSG to win the desired Champions League and, above all, the conquest of the only great title that is missing: the World Cup.

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