Germany legend Lothar Matthaus denounces Lionel Messi’s FIFA Best Men’s Player 2023 triumph: “Not won any major titles”

Lionel Messi’s triumph at the just-concluded FIFA Best Awards has raised some concerns over how the Argentine has been given special treatment by the world football body over the years. Messi completed football in 2022 when he won the World Cup, and many thought he had been rewarded for that by winning his eighth Ballon d’Or.

Germany legend Lothar Mattaus is one of those disappointed at Messi’s triumph, with the legendary former Bayern Munich star claiming he won nothing to deserve the award. Many are also claiming Erling Haaland is a more deserving recipient after winning the treble with Manchester City.

Lothar Matthaus talks on Lionel Messi’s victory at FIFA Best Awards

Lionel Messi has started 2024 just like he ended 2023 by winning another prestigious individual award. The World Cup winner beat off competition from Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe to claim his second FIFA Best Men’s Player Award in a row after also winning the 2022 edition.

Lothar Matthaus talks on Lionel Messi’s victory at FIFA Best Awards
Source: Brotherly Game

However, Messi’s triumph has been talked down, with many claiming he did nothing to deserve the award, a sentiment that has been echoed by German soccer legend Lothar Matthaus.

“He can’t be the winner this time,” the former Bayern Munich and West Germany star told Sky Deutschland in an interview. “I think he was the best footballer of the last 20 years, but he has been in Paris and Miami, where he is now creating hype, and not won any major titles,” he continued.

“If you look at the great successes, there is no way past Manchester City, and when choosing the best player, Erling Haaland is the one. He won the most important titles with Man City; his strike rate was impressive. That should be decisive when you choose the best and most important player, and that was Haaland,” he added.

Apparently, Haaland’s treble-winning season with Manchester City, where he scored more than 50 goals in his first season at the club, wasn’t enough to land him the award.

Source: Essentially Sports

How many times has Lionel Messi won FIFA Men’s Best Player award?

FIFA discontinued its relationship with France Football in 2015 for the FIFA Ballon d’Or award, and the next year (2016) saw both bodies hand out their awards as separate entities, with the Ballon d’Or and FIFA Best Award now being awarded as a single award.

The inaugural FIFA Best Men’s Player award came in 2016, and the first recipient was none other than Cristiano Ronaldo, who was coming back from an incredible season with Real Madrid. The Portuguese star claimed the award ahead of Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann.

Source: Ahram Online

Speaking of Lionel Messi, who had a bizarre line-up for his goalkeeper’s votes, after his latest triumph over Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe, he now holds the record for the most wins of the award, with three in his career.

He claimed his first in 2019 over Virgil Van Dijk and Cristiano Ronaldo. His second came in 2022, which he won ahead of Kylian Mbappe and Karim Benzema.


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