Messi evicted from ‘home of the Golden Ball’: to return to number 1 in the world now only the World Cup remains | First page

They evicted Messi. They showed him the door and said “please, that’s the way out” or – if you want to look at it from another perspective – he locked himself out of the house. He tried to put the key in the lock, but he discovered he had the wrong key. The news: Leo Messi – reigning champion – is not among the candidates for the Ballon d’Or. There is no place for him among the 30 best players who will play it – but also no: the one designated by all is Karim Benzema – to win the most coveted individual trophy. Those of “France Football” they have effectively decreed the end of an era. After 17 years and 7 Golden Balls, after seasons in which if he didn’t win he would end up on the podium anyway, after having been the dictator of a couple of generations, after we were used to seeing him there for a lifetime; Leo Messi he left the group, like Jack Frusciante in the famous novel by Enrico Brizzi. Who knows if this is the finale, or just a temporary exit from the scene.

Mockery of mockery: Cristiano Ronaldo is there. Always him, still him. To stamp the 18th nomination (no one in the history of the trophy has had so many), to reaffirm – with his 37 years – that he is still able to cling to the right vine: all to say that his return with the jersey of the Manchester United it was a bad idea, but he still scored 18 goals. In truth, Messi paid for the first disappointing season with the Psg. Only six goals (topped off with 14 assists) in Ligue 1 last year, plus 5 (but elimination in the round of 16 against Real Madrid) in Champions League: a pittance. Everyone’s impression is that Messi has remained – with his heart, with his head – still in Barcelona. It is not so much the age (35 years) that affects the performance, but the unpleasant feeling of not feeling at home. A guest in Paris, a tourist by chance under the Eiffel Tower. In the group photo Messi is no longer there. The tuxedo remains in the closet, on October 17 at the Theater du Chatelet in Paris to raise the trophy will be another. The 30 million euros of seasonal salary do not serve as a consolation, when he will see – in all likelihood – Benzema raise the trophy and take his place in the roll of honor.

In the list of 30 there is not even Neymar, now downgraded to the shoulder. There is no Italian, but it is nothing new: this is the level of our football, no one pretends to be surprised. There is not even Gigione Donnarumma, who only a year ago was voted best blue at the European Championship. The most present teams are Real Madrid and Manchester City (5 players each, even if Rudiger entered the Real package a few days ago, but he was evaluated for the championship with Chelsea). Our Serie A is present with only 3 players: they are Leao and Maignan (Milan) and Vlahovic, who divided last season between Fiorentina and Juventus. Looking around, in fact, it is not that the choices abounded. But the only real news – a revolution – is that the king of the world suddenly found himself fragile. The distance between the great expectation in seeing Messi outside his home garden and the sentences of the Paris season, have silenced even those who continue to consider him – not without reason – the best player in the world. To deny everyone, and to take back that crown that was taken from him, La Pulce has only one great chance. The World Cup in Qatar. That World Cup that has been chasing since 2006, but collecting – in four editions in a row – only disappointments. Will it be the right time?

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About David Martin

David Martin is the lead editor for Spark Chronicles. David has been working as a freelance journalist.

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