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Football legends who criticized Messi's seventh Ballon d'Or title

Football legends and fans all over the world have continued to react to Lionel Messi's victory at the 2021 Ballon d'Or award ceremony as the Argentine scooped up his seventh title of football's most prestigious individual award.

Many believe that other players, especially Robert Lewandowski, were more deserving of the award, and four football legends have made their opinions known in clear terms.

Chief amongst the critics was Bayern Munich CEO and two-time Ballon d'Or winner Oliver Kahn, who said that Lewandowski deserves both the Ballon d'Or award and the Striker of the Year award

Lewandowski would have deserved both the Ballon d'Or and his top scorer trophy because he has performed absolutely at the highest level for years," Khan told German newspaper Bild.

"Congratulations to Lionel Messi! Even without the Ballon d'Or, Lewy made it to the Olympus of soccer greats a long time ago. He will continue to be a candidate (for the Ballon d'Or) in the coming years," the Bayern CEO concluded.

Another former Ballon d'Or winner Lothar Matthaus was critical of the decision to not adjudge Lewandowski as the winner of the award, stating that the Polish striker has been the best player over the past two years.

He also highlighted Lewandowski's trophy haul since 2020 and breaking Gerd Muller's 40 league goals record during the 2020/21 season.

Honestly, I don't understand anything anymore. With all due respect to Messi and the other great players named, none deserved it as much as Lewandowski," told Sky Germany.

"France Football didn't award the prize last year, and if only because of all the titles that Robert has won with Bayern 2020, he is unrivalled not only in the last two years.

But even if you only take 2021 into account, he was better than the rest. He broke Gerd Muller's record of the century, is again top of the top scorers list in every competition and has surpassed everyone nationally and internationally this year as well."

Current Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos believes that Lionel Messi was not deserving of the award and other players should be ahead of him.

“It is absolutely not deserved. There is no doubt that Messi, with Cristiano, has been the player of the last decade, but this year there should've been others ahead of him," Kroos tweeted after the awards ceremony.

Spanish legendary goalkeeper Iker Casillas cast doubt on the veracity of football awards, claiming that it should not be so hard to decide who the best player is.

The former Real Madrid shot-stopper said on his Twitter page: "It is increasingly difficult for me to believe in football awards. Messi is one of the best but you have to know who is the most outstanding player after the season. It's not that hard.”

Robert Lewandowski came second to Lionel Messi for the 2021 Ballon d'Or award. He was however handed the inaugural winner of the Striker of the Year award for his 56 goals so far in the 2021 calendar year

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