• England’s Ballon d’Or voter has revealed his reasons for picking Lionel Messi 
  • The journalist claimed that he decision was not influenced by ‘nostalgia’ 
  • Listen to the latest episode of Mail Sport’s podcast ‘It’s All Kicking Off!’ 

England‘s only Ballon d’Or voter has revealed his reasons for voting for Lionel Messi at the recent award ceremony. 

On Monday night, Messi made history as he was awarded his eighth Ballon d’Or title after pipping Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe to the accolade. 

There was much debate as to whether Messi deserved to claim the award solely for his performances in the 2022 World Cup, where he captained Argentina to victory. 

Some have suggested that Messi was favoured due to the fact it will, likely, be the last time that he can win the award. 

However, The Times’ Henry Winter has suggested that his voting for Messi was not for ‘nostalgia’ and, rather, because of the Inter Miami star’s impressive performances.

Argentina star Lionel Messi collected his eighth Ballon d'Or title on Monday night

Argentina star Lionel Messi collected his eighth Ballon d’Or title on Monday night 

Some have suggested that Man City's Erling Haaland was unfortunate to be snubbed

Some have suggested that Man City’s Erling Haaland was unfortunate to be snubbed

Writing for the newspaper, Winter said: ‘In assessing and selecting the Ballon d’Or, inevitably much weight is placed on success in the Champions League and in tournaments. 

‘The game is about trophies, and Messi’s performance in Qatar sealed first place and six points from this judge. Messi was on a mission out there, absolutely driven with the obsession of winning the World Cup. Messi’s career, even one as glittering as his, with four Champions Leagues, needed this nirvana in Qatar’.

It had been well documented throughout Messi’s career, prior to the tournament last December, that the only major trophy to elude him was the World Cup. 

For a long time, Messi had never won anything with his national side but he put that to bed after winning the Copa America in 2021 before the World Cup a year later.  

‘By any metric, Messi was the most effective combatant in the most important competition in sport,’ Winter continued. ‘But Messi is about so much more than numbers. He is about the poetry. 

‘He is about that astonishing explosion of pace to whisk the ball away from a defender as good as Croatia’s Josko Gvardiol in the semi-final on December 13 at Lusail Stadium’.

Come the end of the tournament, Messi was the competition’s second top scorer, had the joint-most assists and the most chances created. 

Messi's World Cup triumph at the end of 2022 was a deciding factor for a number of voters

Messi’s World Cup triumph at the end of 2022 was a deciding factor for a number of voters

The Inter Miami star produced a stunning performance against Croatia's Josko Gvardiol (L)

The Inter Miami star produced a stunning performance against Croatia’s Josko Gvardiol (L) 

Winter later explained that he opted for Manchester City’s Haaland in second and PSG’s Mbappe in third, after putting Messi forward for the title. 

‘I gave second place, and four points, to Haaland, whose industrial-scale plundering of goals (52) and trophies (the Treble) for Manchester City were phenomenal and brought him the football writers’ and PFA player of the year honours in England’.

Haaland narrowly missed out on winning the Ballon d’Or but still claimed the Gerd Muller trophy after scoring the most goals out of any player in the year. 

Former PSG player Jerome Rothen said Messi’s triumph was ‘disgraceful’ and that the Norwegian was far more deserving of the award.

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