It’s been a long time since a Rangers player was close to winning the Ballon d’Or with a tenuous link to Lionel Messi being the nearest we are likely to come now.
Alex McLeish, famously, tried to sign the diminutive playmaker on loan from Barcelona before his breakthrough season but didn’t get any joy.
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Apparently though, leading his country to a World Cup hasn’t been enough for one former Rangers player to hail Lionel Messi the best in the world, with Jerome Rothen telling RMC Sport exactly what he thinks.
Ex-Rangers winger fumes at Lionel Messi Ballon d’Or
The thing with the Ballon d’Or and various player of the year awards is that they are voted for by players, coaches and/or journalists.
It’s not just one or two people or a small panel of judges.
Whenever there isn’t a set criteria or strict rules, emotion will always come into it.
Speaking on his RMC Sport show, Rangers flop Rothen was clearly incensed with the outcome of the vote
“Of course it’s disgraceful, as far as I’m concerned, it should have gone to Haaland.
“From August 2022 to June 2023, what criteria lead us to say that Leo Messi is above the others
Haaland won everything with Manchester City.
“And of course you can’t compare him with the World Cup, because Haaland is Norwegian.
‘”At PSG, Messi wasn’t above the rest, he wasn’t the best player at the club.
“It’s problematic that a guy who’s won the Ballon d’Or, who’s supposed to be the best player in the world, isn’t even the best player at his club.
“You have to stop being delirious! And over the last four years, he’s won two Ballon d’Or awards. So for me, it’s disgraceful. I’m hallucinating
If Randal Kolo Muani had beaten Emiliano Martinez in the Argentina goal with the clock at 123 minutes, the former Rangers-linked Lionel Messi wouldn’t have won the World Cup.
Kylian Mbappe, with a hat-trick in the final, a fine tournament and a good season domestically probably gets bumped up from third to first instead.
All on the fate of one shot at goal.
Rothen, who was an unmitigated disaster at Rangers despite arriving with a stellar CV, is probably right.
Erling Haaland, consistently, was the best player during the time period the RMC Sport pundit talks about and, despite Norway not qualifying for the World Cup or European Championships, it wasn’t down to the prolific striker’s lack of effort.
What is football without the emotion though?