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Toni Kroos says Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo deserved winning Ballon d’Or over Lionel Messi

Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos has said that Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo were more deserving to win the Ballon d’Or over Lionel Messi.

Also Read: Ballon d’Or Winners list.

Messi was crowned the winner of the prestigious prize for the seventh occasion last night, but there has been criticism from some fans.

Several players have also voiced their frustration. Speaking on his official podcast, Kroos said he has no doubts over Messi’s quality on the pitch.

However, he added that there were more players deserving of the award including teammate Karim Benzema, who has been one of the best individual players this year.

The German also gave a special mention for his former teammate Ronaldo, who has singlehandedly won Champions League games for Manchester United this term.

He said: “There is no doubt that Messi, with Cristiano [Ronaldo], has been the player of the last decade, but this year there should’ve been others ahead of him.

“For me, Karim would have been the number one if you were really looking for the best individual player of the last year, because I can see from close quarters what an outstanding footballer he is.

“When I see how many decisive goals Cristiano has scored lately – Manchester United are still in the Champions League thanks to him alone – then, in my eyes, Cristiano would have also come before Messi.”

Messi lifted his first major international trophy with Argentina earlier this summer which made him a genuine favourite to win the Ballon d’Or for the seventh time.

There were suggestions that Robert Lewandowski may edge the Argentine for the prize, and he was not far with just 33 votes splitting him from Messi (613 votes).

Lewandowski will feel hard done by, considering he was the outright favourite to win the accolade last year. France Football cancelled the event due to COVID-19.

He produced another excellent campaign last term, bagging 48 goals in 40 games while breaking Gerd Muller’s 40-year record for most goals in a single Bundesliga season.

The Poland international has shown no signs of slowing down. The 33-year-old will be keen to push for European glory with Bayern this season to land the coveted prize next year.

His chances could be hampered due to the World Cup. Poland are still not assured qualification and face a play-off. Even if they qualify, they will be underdogs to win it.

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