'Big Bluff': Ballon d'Or Chief Blasts Reports 'Confirming' Lionel Messi as 2021 Winner

© REUTERS / CHRISTIAN HARTMANNSoccer Football - Champions League - Group A - Paris St Germain v RB Leipzig - Parc des Princes, Paris, France - October 19, 2021 Paris St Germain's Lionel Messi
Soccer Football - Champions League - Group A - Paris St Germain v RB Leipzig - Parc des Princes, Paris, France - October 19, 2021 Paris St Germain's Lionel Messi - Sputnik International, 1920, 09.11.2021
Regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, former Barcelona talisman Lionel Messi is the only footballer in the world to win the Ballon d'Or six times. The 34-year-old superstar also holds the record for winning the coveted award four years in succession, a feat he achieved from 2009 to 2012.
Pascal Ferre, editor-in-chief of France Football, the parent organisation of the Ballon d'Or, has slammed reports claiming that Argentina's skipper, Lionel Messi, is the winner of the 2021 award.
The winner is not due to be announced until a glittering ceremony at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris on 29 November. But Portuguese broadcaster RTP's assertion on Friday that Messi has already been told that he will be awarded a record-extending seventh Ballon d'Or created ripples in the sports world at the weekend.
However, Ferre rubbished the television network's claims as he dubbed all those reports as a "big bluff".

"That's a lot of bull***t we've seen in the past 10 days. A big bluff," Ferre told German outlet Bild.

For his own part, Messi believes it would be "crazy" to win football's top honour for the seventh time.
"If the Ballon d'Or arrives it would be extraordinary for what it would mean winning one more. The seventh would be crazy," the Argentine told Spanish publication Sport last week.
"If not, nothing happens. I have already achieved one of my great goals. I am very happy for what happened and now that whatever has to happen happens," he concluded.
Together with Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski, Messi is one of the favourites to claim the award in a few weeks' time.
Messi's chances to win an unprecedented seventh Ballon d'Or appear quite strong, considering he bagged the Copa del Rey title with Barcelona during the previous season before putting an end to Argentina's 28-year long international trophy drought by lifting the Copa America title in July.
Moreover, Messi was the Spanish league's top goalscorer last season before his shock departure from Catalonia for Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) in September.
On the other hand, Lewandowski missed out on the prize last year as France Football cancelled the event because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Pole has been in sparkling form over the past two years: Lewandowski notched up a super-impressive 55 goals in 47 games for the German team in 2019-20, and then followed those numbers with yet another dominant season, clocking up 48 goals in 40 matches during Bayern's 2020-21 campaign.
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