Pep Guardiola, the head coach of Manchester City, has reopened the 2022 Ballon d’Or controversy by arguing that Thibaut Courtois should have won.
Karim Benzema, a Real Madrid colleague of Courtois, received the individual award for helping Real Madrid to its 14th Champions League triumph and the La Liga victory.
Guardiola opined that although Benzema was also a deserved winner, Courtois deserved one as well.
“If they had given the Ballon d’Or to Courtois last year, it would also have been deserved,” as quoted by Sportskeeda.
Courtois 2022 achievements
The Belgian shot-stopper was Los Blancos best player after Benzema, as he conceded only 46 goals in 52 appearances, as captured by Transfermarkt. He put on major performances, especially in the Champions League final against Liverpool, where he bagged the man of the match.
He was gifted the Yashin trophy for being the best goalkeeper of the season but bizarrely finished in seventh place in the Ballon d’Or rankings.
Guardiola made these comments after watching his team dump Real Madrid out of this season’s Champions League.
Despite conceding four goals, Courtois was the best player in Carlo Ancelotti’s side as he pulled off a string of decent stops to maintain a respectable scoreline.
He particularly thwarted Erling Haaland’s efforts, who had at least three decent chances to get on the scoresheet.
Messi vs Haaland Ballon d’Or rankings
This Ballon d’Or debate comes at a time when Haaland closed the gap on Lionel Messi by qualifying for the Champions League final.
As Sports Brief reported, apart from Messi’s early elimination from the Champions League, the Argentine delivered for his country in Qatar.
He played a role in almost every game, bar their opening match against Saudi Arabia.
He may still be the front-runner, with the World Cup lending him significant weight, but his 2023 form, coupled with disciplinary issues, could stand between him and another title.
If Haaland completes a treble with Manchester City this season, it would be hard for him to be overlooked in this year’s award.