Saturday, December 3, 2022

Tshosane, Thuma hail Messi’s Ballon d’Or win

Zebras head coach Stanley Tshosane and Captain Mompati Thuma have expressed their delight at Argentine Lionel Messi’s fourth consecutive Ballon d’Or win.

The coach, however, refused to divulge who he voted for between Messi, Christiano Ronaldo and Andres Iniesta, saying “this is just like in the general elections; you won’t just tell someone which party you voted for. We discussed the issue with the BFA and agreed that divulging such information may have repercussions in the future should we need assistance from any of the concerned parties,” Tshosane said.

The coach, however, could not resist the urge to wax lyrical about the Barcelona player, saying that contrary to what some people say about him being selfish with the ball, Messi is a great team player with a proven record of assists.

Tshosane also said the fact that Messi has won consecutive Ballon d’Or awards should not be used to disadvantage him when voting. “Messi is in a league of his own and he should be recognised for that,” he said.

For his part , Zebras captain Mompati Thuma disclosed that he voted for Messi as his first choice, Ronaldo second and Iniesta third . Thuma said he voted Messi for his record breaking performances and playing an “instrumental” role in Barcelona’s success.

Lionel Messi has broken the record for the most Ballon d ‘Or awards ever, surpassing Uefa President Michel Platini, Marco van Basten and Johan Cruyff; all of whom have won the award three times each.

Less than a month earlier, in December 2012, he broke German Gerd Mueller’s forty-year-old record for the most goals scored in a calendar year, netting 91 times to beat Mueller’s 85 goals. He has also got under his belt three Uefa Champions League gold medals, five La Liga titles and seven domestic cups.

The only trophies still to have eluded Messi are the World Cup and the Copa America but he is still only 25 years old. And for a footballing nation like Argentina, with a player like Messi, winning both the World Cup and Copa America is not a farfetched idea by any stretch of the imagination.

Messi has undoubtedly taken the footballing fraternity by storm and it is safe to say he is not even done yet; there is still more expected from the pint sized Argentinean.

He is revered not just by his fellow players but by managers and legends of the game. Diego Maradona (to whom Messi has been compared) has described him as a genius; Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has likened Messi to a PLAYSTATION game.

The Ballon d’Or, as FIFA’s Player of the year award has been named, is voted for by coaches and captains of national teams from member states and a selected sports journalist from the state.

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