Lionel Messi (36) may have to hand over one of his eight Ballon d'Or. According to the French newspaper Le Monde, the French judiciary has begun an investigation into the 2021 elections, which Messi won by a narrow margin.
look. Messi wins his eighth Ballon d'Or
Messi received 613 votes in 2021 during the Best Player of the Year elections organized by France Football magazine. Messi received slightly more votes than Robert Lewandowski (580 votes) which raised a lot of eyebrows in football.
Lewandowski had another strong year at Bayern Munich, while Messi had a bad year. Although the striker became a Spanish hero with Barcelona and won the Copa America with Argentina in the summer, he greatly disappointed in his first months as a Paris Saint-Germain player. Lewandowski became the German League champion in 2021 and won the Club World Cup.
The pressure was on for votes
According to Le Monde newspaper, Paris Saint-Germain, where Messi has played since the summer of 2021, pressed to obtain the largest possible number of votes for Messi. France Football's former editor-in-chief, Pascal Ferret, is said to have received various gifts, such as match tickets and an all-expenses-paid trip for club teams to attend the World Cup.
Ferry has been working as a press officer at Paris Saint-Germain since January 2023. Lionel Messi left for Inter Miami six months later.
The Ministry of Justice in France stumbled upon the potential fraud case by chance. Initially, there was an investigation into PSG's tax evasion during Neymar's transfer in 2017. French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin is said to have helped PSG in this regard. During the investigation, potential fraud surrounding the Ballon d'Or elections was uncovered.
Messi, who currently works for Inter Miami, is the record holder with eight Ballon d'Ors. If the Argentine is indeed to hand over his award, there is no need to fear competition at the moment. Cristiano Ronaldo is his closest target with five Ballon d'Ors.
If fraud is proven, the award goes to Lewandowski. This will be the first time that the Polish striker, who is in his second season at FC Barcelona, has won the Ballon d'Or. According to the voting models released, Ferri placed Lewandowski in first place.
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