The decision to award Lionel Messi the Ballon d’Or was controversial.
It seems as though almost everyone in football had an opinion on it – and it seemed most disagreed with the decision.
Many believed that second place, Robert Lewandowski, was deserving of the award. After all, the Polish striker was robbed of the 2020 award after it was cancelled due to coronavirus.
While the Ballon d’Or failed to reward the Bayern Munich striker, another award giver did.
Step forward, IFFHS.
They named Lewa as the men’s world’s best player in 2021.
And now, the prestigious history and stats company have named their world team of the year.
Of course, it includes both Lewandowski and Lionel Messi.
But that doesn’t mean everyone will agree with it.
Quiz: Can you name the footballer based on their Wikipedia page?
Perhaps the biggest exclusion is Liverpool’s, Mohamed Salah. The Egyptian is currently regarded as the best player in world football at the moment and there were eyebrows raised when he only finished seventh in the Ballon d’Or.
But with a front-three of Kylian Mbappe, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lewandowski with Messi playing in midfield, there’s no room for Salah.
Kevin De Bruyne and Jorginho join Messi in midfield.
The back-four consists of Alphonso Davies, Ruben Dias, Leonardo Bonucci and Achraf Hakimi. Gianluigi Donnarumma is in goal.
Check out the full XI below:
World team of 2021
Salah may not be included in IFFHS’s World XI, but his incredible form – 19 goals in 20 appearances in all competitions this season – has seen him linked with a move to Barcelona.
But he’s insisted he’s more than happy at Liverpool right now.
“I read what was said about Xavi’s interest to sign me,” said Salah.
“This is something that makes me happy that a team like Barcelona is interested in me, but I’m happy in Liverpool and we will see what happens in the future.
“At the moment, I prefer to stay in the Premier League as it’s the strongest league in the world.”