The 2022 Ballon d’Or did not disappoint when it came to the usual controversy last night, but not when it came to the most prestigious individual award in football.
Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema was the clear front-runner this time around and justifiably became the oldest winner in the award’s 66-year history after embarking on a stellar 2021-22 season with the Spanish giants that ended with the club winning four major honors with his goalscoring exploits leading the charge.
La Liga also brought home the top goalkeeping honor when Thibaut Courtois won the Yashin Trophy, while Barcelona Feminí star Alexia Putellas won her second consecutive Ballon d’Or on the women’s side of the game, and, to the shock of many, Barça and Spain starlet Gavi took home the 2022 Kopa Trophy as the world’s top U21 player.
Gavi finished ahead of Real Madrid rival Eduardo Camavinga, Bayern Munich’s German wunderkind Jamal Musiala, Borussia Dortmund’s English starlet Jude Bellingham, and Paris Saint-Germain’s Portuguese talent Nuno Mendes, with many claiming that the 18-year-old was not the most deserving of the prize including Bayern Munich boss Julian Nagelsmann.
Following in the wake of Bayern left-back Alphonso Davies, who claimed that Musiala was denied the honor last night, Nagelsmann had his say.
In quotes sourced by Football Espana via Diario AS, Nagelsmann stated; “Of course, you always have your club-tinted glasses on, but generally I also have my own opinion. I would have voted in a different way. In my opinion, Jamal [Musiala] and Jude Bellingham have had a better season than the winner. From my point of view, both are ahead of Gavi.” Though Nagelsmann went on to qualify his opinion by remarking that Gavi is “A great player with a lot of talent. It was not undeserved on his part. He has an extreme winning mentality for his age.”
Bayern will hopefully secure their second win over Barcelona in as many chances next week when the pair lock horns on matchday five of the Champions League after the Bavarian juggernaut secured a 2-0 win against the Catalans on matchday two.
Nagelsmann’s troops sit comfortably atop Group C, while Barça will be consigned to the Europa League for the second season in succession should they fail to secure three points as second-sitting Inter Milan is all but guaranteed to achieve the full boatload against hapless Viktoria Plzen.
Musiala may have been snubbed, but he looks on course to have the last laugh where it matters most.