An Arsenal fan on why Lionel Messi fully deserved his 8th Balon D’Or

Messi’s 8th Balon D’Or by Dan Smith

We have a habit in the UK of wanting someone to fall once they hit a certain height. That’s why Lionel Messi hasn’t by all been given credit for his 8th Ballon D’ Or.

Some feel it was a sentimental choice by the organisers, a final chance to give the Argentine the accolade.

Others feel it was politics at work, sponsors and advertiser’s preferring the most iconic player of all time being the face of their event.

The complaint some have Is that winning Ligue One with PSG can’t be compared to what Haaland did domestically, the striker lifting a treble in his first season in England.

The consensus being that a body of work shouldn’t be judged purely on one-month long tournament.

Yet we are not talking about any competition. We are referring to a little matter called. …. the World Cup!

You know the event that every 4 years Messi was judged on for not taking home?

No matter how many Championships, Champions Leagues or individual honours, the 36 year was in danger of being defined by his inability to match watch Maradona did.

We can’t have it both ways.

We can’t judge a player for the one item missing on his CV then downplay the achievement when it becomes a reality.

Most of the time the award is judged on your form in Europe or on the international stage.

So, by that criteria why should the Champions League be deemed superior to the World Cup, especially given the fact that Messi has been successful in UEFA’s premier competition multiple time?

For bonus points, Messi also was more prolific in the knockout stages then Haaland was.

The change of rules means a talent is judged for the whole 2022/23 campaign and not simply the calendar year.

Despite perceptions towards him in France, Messi still managed over 20 goals and 20 assists. Those are stats that most would be proud of.

As most would be satisfied with his record in America of 11 goals in 14 matches, already gaining silverware in the MLS.

So, his numbers at his last two clubs shouldn’t be dismissed.

Yet it’s what he did in Qatar that will last forever. Not just reaching the promise the land but the manner of how he did.

Sandwiched between the English programme what stood out was his strong mind set.

In a title race which proved mentally too much for Arsenal to handle, if any fanbase couldn’t take for granted the character it took to deal with expectations, it’s Gooners.

In sport, skill gets you so far. What separates the good from the best is your mind.

That’s why November and December 2022 will be one of my most memorable moments in football.

The Argentine skipper didn’t need to get his hands on that gold prize to prove anything to anyone.

Yet how he carried that weight of expectation with a smile on his face was inspirational.

Where the Gunners were crippled by a fear of failure, Messi not just faced the anxiety but did so with a smile on his face.

From the end of group stage, every last World Cup fixture was potentially his farewell.

Every goal, the prospect of being his final one.

At times his peers struggled but their captain was like a conductor, watching from deep and pulling the strings when needed.

The narrative was could one of the greatest to ever live, triumph in the one comp that alluded him?

It was much of a happy ever after ending, too much of a Fairytale, like Shakespeare had written it.

It’s too perfect. The world doesn’t work like that.

For the ending alone …. Messi deserves as much recognition as possible.

On behalf of the JustArsenal family, congratulations to Messi


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Tags Balon D'or Messi


  1. How can anyone watch what Messi did in that world cup and say he doesn’t deserve it, from the mexico match to the Australian match to the quarter finals semi final and final he turned up when his country needed him. What Messi did in that world cup only a player that has good mental strength can do it because all eyes were on him. To me he deserves the award.

    1. Because he was up against Saka and Ødegaard for a start. But even though the site is called Just Arsenal, it doesn’t mean other football related articles are not of interest as whilst we are all Arsenal supporters, some of us are also interested in football beyond the Emirates Stadium.

        1. Why “obviously not”? Both were on the nominees list and finished 24th and 28th in the competition. I take you didn’t know that?

          1. Because they finished at the respective places you mentioned yourself hence why i said they are not “up against” Messi. Haaland,Mbappe and Alvarez were his main competitors cos they achieved a lot more and won’t be a surprise if one of them wins it, quite the opposite for our stars.

            1. You really don’t get it do you? I could carry on and explain it to you but I can’t understand it for you, so I won’t! Have a lovely day 😊

  2. I do not not think this article has any relevance whatsoever to JustArsenal. How will Messi’s Balon D’or win make Arsenal team better. Admin should verify articles before allowing to go to press

  3. Dan Oh Dan!!!
    Why Oh Why??

    What on earth has comparing Lionel Messi got to do with The Arsenal missing out on the PL league last season??

    You just can’t help yourself having a dig at MA and his players, thereby spoiling what, in essence, was a great tribute to one of the best players I’ve ever had the privilege of watching.

    Of course, when one thinks about a certain George Best, suddenly winning anything doesn’t automatically make one the best… unless of course, you were George Best.

  4. Relax people. It’s just an article. You don’t have to read it if you don’t want to. I found the article interesting

  5. Messi was amazing at the WC, player of the year covers the calender year, meaning Haaland should have won it.

    Despite the EPL being the toughest league in the world, players at English clubs consistently get overlooked. There is 100% a bais against our league when voting. The bias is so bad that Messi having a poor season in a weak league like Ligue 1, and now playing in the dreadful MLS, tops the EPL – proving that Messi was only really judged on 7 WC games for the whole calendar year.

    I love Messi, but it’s clearly a sentimental vote, not judged on any metrics, meaning it’s a pretty pointless award in all honesty. Haaland being robbed is an understatement.

      1. Still great stats, but it is Ligue 1. The EPL is much tougher, making Haaland’s performances far better.

        Unless you think performing well for PSG in such a weak league is an outstanding achievement?

        Next you’ll be telling me that winning the league at Bayern is tough! 🤣

        1. By your reasoning, we should also not take Mbappe’s goalscoring heroics seriously since it’s just Ligue 1. Maybe he isn’t really that good?

          Haaland did score loads of goals and not much else last season. He was anonymous in the finals he played in and didn’t participate in the biggest footballing competition of the year. But he still came second which is no mean feat and he should be proud of his performance :).

  6. DAN HAS A PEREFECT RIGHT TO HIS OPINION ANDS i am glad to se a non specifically Arsewnal artickle appear I have been asking Ad Pat for manay years to allow wider based articles sonJAand for these reasons: firstly to concentrate entirely onone club , even thoughi tis our beloeve dclub , there is a paucity of actual news andthough the site is called Just Arsenal NEWS, actual news , as contrasted with opinions, is rare.

    Secondly, insularity in football as in life generally, is boring, tedious, samey in content and progresses no-ones personal development much at all.
    Thirdly, we ought all be free to say what we want, as long as it is within the bounds of decent language.
    I do not agree with DAN about MESSI, but that is not relevant at all.
    What IS relevant is that we MUST widen what has become an often dreary, samey, fan site covering the same subjects time and time and time again..

    I applaud his decision to write this piece and also Ad PAT for now widening his one time very shallow pool of subjects allowed on JA. A BIG STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION.

    1. Jon
      You are a repetitive dinosaur. JA has ALWAYS posted articles on many differing subjects but EVERY TIME we do you use it to complain about the website in general. Why not just discuss the subject and stop with the continual put downs eh?

      1. A puzzling reply PAT, as what USED to happen was that you refused non Arsenal content articles.

        I realise that has since changed and welcome it and thank you for allowing. it So this rather unfortunate post of yours is calculated to insult me. Well, so be it then. Enjoy your moment in the sun!

        Meanwhile I CONTINUE TO ENJOY LIFE, so Hey ho!!

  7. For me, this was a deserved Ballon D Or. La Pulga was the heartbeat of that Argentine team, and I have never seen a final match as exciting as France vs Argentina. Apart from being obviously the best player at the World Cup (Mbappe almost his equal), he was, as you mentioned, also effective at PSG and the MLS….
    Quite simply the best player I have ever seen live… current footballer would ever be as magical in my opinion…
    Great Article Dan!

    1. Messi was arguably the best player at the World Cup but has not been the best player during the past year. Unfortunately, the World Cup is no longer the showcase tournament of the best football in the world. That accolade belongs to the European CL.
      Being one of the best in France and the MLS is a joke argument.

  8. my problem with this issue is u can not judge messi with a standard and change it when its comes to others. by your analysis iniesta or xavi should have won the 2010 award

  9. disagree, that’s not what the trophy is for. There was already a trophy for best World Cup player, which rightly Messi got. For the whole year, it was very obviously Haaland. But nobody stood a chance because they weren’t just running against Messi’s WC campaign, but also his entire career and legacy. Messi didn’t deserve this Ballon d’or, but trophy lost its legitimacy a long long time ago and players that don’t deserve it that year will continue to win it.

  10. The balon d’or is apparently awarded to the best individual footballer over one full season. On that basis both Mbappe and Haaland were well ahead of Messi and HE did not win the World Cup the Argentine TEAM did. Using that argument Mbappe deserved the gong he was the top goalscorer in the WC and scored a hat trick in the final and his team only lost on penalties. My opinion, the 100 worldwide journos who gave him the trophy were merely wishing him goodbye. No disrespect here, he used to be one of the greatest footballers of all time as was Ronaldo, Maradona and perhaps the real GOAT Pele!! I think the award should be renamed the Boring d’or!!

  11. Statistically, Messi was one of the best players in Europe last season. Even though PSG fell short in the CL, he was the competition’s highest rated player. It’s ridiculous to suggest that he didn’t deserve his Ballon d’Or win. He’s probably a little bit unlucky that he won the award 7 times already, otherwise, we wouldn’t be having this argument if it was any other player.

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