The crowning of Argentine star Lionel Messi, the American player for Inter Miami, with the Best Player in the World Award presented by the International Federation (FIFA), has sparked a lot of controversy due to the former Barcelona star’s lack of major titles this year, in contrast to what other players have achieved, such as Erling Haaland, the Manchester City star.
The flea returned to the podium after many expected it to go to Haaland for his individual and collective achievements.
During the annual ceremony held in London, Messi surpassed Haaland and Frenchman Kylian Mbappe.
16 years later and still in the world’s best XI. Messi’s longevity at the top of the game 😳🐐 pic.twitter.com/A3BUmZkpaq
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) January 16, 2024
German football legend Lothar Matthaus expressed his surprise at Messi winning the World Player of the Year award.
“If the World Cup, which awarded Messi the Ballon d’Or, is not counted, the Argentine cannot win the award this time,” Matthews told Sky Sports on Tuesday.
He added, “I think that Messi is the best football player in the last 20 years, but he did not win any major championship with Paris Saint-Germain or Inter Miami.”
Lothar Matthaus is the same man that once said Kylian Mbappe is the “Best player” in the world despite not winning a “major title” with PSG in over 6 years at the club.
But of course, when it is about Lionel Messi, it is never deserved. https://t.co/kXJvtaMWD1
— Streplic (@Streplic) January 16, 2024
Matthews explained, “As for the best player, Erling Haaland won most of the major titles with Manchester City, and he also had an impressive scoring rate. This should have been a decisive factor when choosing the best player. The most important player was Haaland.”
The Norwegian Hurricane won the English Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League treble with Manchester City.
He was also crowned top scorer in the Premier League with a record 36 goals, and finished as top scorer in the Champions League last season.
For his part, Iker Casillas, the former Spanish goalkeeper of Real Madrid, denounced Messi’s award in a tweet on the “X” social networking site.
“You create some wonderful trophies, but you spoil them by doing unfair things. Anyway, good night,” the Royal Club legend wrote.
MESSAGE FOR THOSE WHO VOTED FOR MESSI!✍️
“You create some nice prizes and you are taking them away by not doing things fairly. “The Smile” they should call it”
– Iker Casillas in X pic.twitter.com/8WuUQSdc25
— Analysts (@SomosAnalistas_) January 16, 2024
It is noteworthy that Messi was crowned “The Best” award for the third time in his career.
The 36-year-old was chosen based on votes from national team coaches, captains, journalists and fans.
Messi led Inter Miami to win the first title in its history when it was crowned champion of the American-Mexican League Cup.