Lionel Messi won the Ballon d’Or for a record seventh time on Monday but the GOAT’s victory has, perhaps unsurprisingly, not gone down well at Real Madrid.
Midfielder Toni Kroos spoke about the award on his official podcast and had a little rant about the fact that Messi had won instead of players such as Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo.
“It’s absolutely not deserved,” he said.
“For me, Karim would have been the number one if you were really looking for the best individual player of the last year, because I can see from close quarters what an outstanding footballer he is.
“When I see how many decisive goals Cristiano has scored lately - Manchester United are still in the Champions League thanks to him alone - then, in my eyes, Cristiano would have also come before Messi.”
Benzema finished fourth in the final standings, while Ronaldo was down in sixth.
Kroos’s former Real Madrid team-mate Iker Casillas also had a bit of a pop in a post on Twitter.
“It is increasingly difficult for me to believe in football awards,” he wrote. “For me, Messi, he is one of the five best players in all of history but you have to know how to list the most outstanding players in a season. It’s not that hard.”
Real Madrid ended up empty-handed at the 2021 Ballon d’Or awards but it was a good night for Barca as Pedri won the Kopa Trophy, Alexia Putellas claimed the Women’s Ballon d’Or and Messi, of course, made even more history with his latest achievement.