Joan Laporta was all smiles in his seat at the Théâtre du Châtelet in París as Barça were the big winners at the annual Balón d'Or awards last night, football's version of the Oscars. Previously, Luis Suarez was the only Spaniard to scoop the awards and Alexia Putellas made history last night with her win. The FC Barcelona Femeni player, who was decorated along with Pedri and Messi made it a good night for Culès. Putellas' win marked a significant step for the women's game in Spain which has come form being derided some decades ago to now being the home the current European champions and first and second in the Balón d'Or category with Alexia and Jenni Hermoso.
Barça have been serious in their support for women's football and have advanced from the time when a group of girls got approval from the club to use the name and wear the famous claret and navy shirt. They also enlisted the services of the, then retired Ramallets as head coach. Bit by bit, the women's side grew and grew with support from the institution and is now the envy of the game across the continent. The night's success was complimented with Pedri winning the Kopa Award. The player from Teguste has been out of action for the past few weeks but seeing him on stage last night brought back memories of his dazzling performances for both FC Barcelona and the Spanish national side.
And Leo Messi....The Argentine plays his football these days in Paris, but he secured his award for his time at Camp Nou, being top scorer in LaLiga, the Copa del Rey win and being instrumental in Argentina's Copa América triumph. I voted: Benzema-Lewandowski-Messi after much deliberation following the Real Madrid striker's key roles in France game sat the Nations League finals. I share Messi's view that Lewandowski was hard done by in missing out in 2020 when the pandemic saw no award being issued. All being said, we can only stand back and admire Leo Messi's incredible achievements and his accumulation of seven Ballon d'Or wins.