Real Madrid Midfielder, Toni Kroos says former teammate, Cristiano Ronaldo should have won the Ballon d’Or award instead of Lionel Messi.
Messi won the 2021 Golden Ball on Monday night after another stellar year for club and country that saw him score 42 goals while getting his hands on Copa del Rey and Copa America honours.
The German international believes Ronaldo was better over the past year, should have finished ahead of some of the other names in the final vote.
The Real Madrid midfielder said on his official podcast: “It’s absolutely not deserved.
“There is no doubt that Messi, with Cristiano [Ronaldo], has been the player of the last decade, but this year there should’ve been others ahead of him.”
Asked about who he felt deserved the accolade, Kroos named his Madrid colleague Karim Benzema before also insisting that Ronaldo should have finished ahead of Messi after the impact he’s had since returning to Manchester United.
“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,” Kroos added.
“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.”
Kroos’ outrage over the decision to give Messi the prize again was shared by his former Madrid team-mate Iker Casillas.
“It is increasingly difficult for me to believe in football awards,” the former Spain international goalkeeper wrote on Twitter.
“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.”
Gianluigi Donnarumma, Kylian Mbappe, Kevin De Bruyne, Mohamed Salah, N’Golo Kante and Jorginho were also among those that had to be content with a spot behind Messi in the top ten.
Robert Lewandowski’s position as runner-up proved to be the most controversial, though, with many pundits having previously backed him for the prize following another prolific 12 months at Bayern Munich.