The 2021 Ballon d’Or awards sparked plenty of controversy, with many people arguing that Robert Lewandowski should have beaten Lionel Messi to the prize.
The annual award run by French magazine France Football celebrates the best footballer over the past year, and Messi finished marginally ahead of Lewandowski in the final vote.
This is the seventh time the Argentinian striker has won the award, putting him two clear of Cristiano Ronaldo in the standings.
We take a look at the top players in this year’s Ballon d’Or and identify which football boots they wore to boost their performances.
Lionel Messi – adidas X Speedflow .1
According to FootballBoots.co.uk, the Paris Saint-Germain forward wears the adidas X Speedflow boots after switching to them from the Nemeziz line.
His form hasn’t suffered as a result of the switch, although you would be hard pushed to say he has quite reached the same heights as previous years.
Messi began the year at Barcelona and helped them win the Copa del Rey in what was a disappointing season overall for the La Liga giants.
However, Messi staked his claim for the Ballon d’Or during the summer, leading Argentina to victory at Copa America to end their 28-year wait for a major trophy.
Robert Lewandowski – Nike Phantom Venom & Mercurial Vapor
Having been robbed of the prize in 2020, Lewandowski was a leading fancy to claim the award after smashing goals galore in his striking Nike Phantom Venom boots, before switching to the Mercurial Vapor later in 2021.
He bagged 41 goals for Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga last season, breaking a long-standing record set by the legendary Gerd Muller.
Lewandowski’s failure to help Poland out of their group at the European Championships undoubtedly scuppered his hopes of winning the Ballon d’Or.
The 33-year-old didn’t leave the ceremony empty-handed as he was chosen as France Football’s first-ever winner of the Striker of the Year award.
Jorginho – Nike Tiempo Legend
Jorginho surprised many pundits by claiming third position in the Ballon d’Or, despite playing an integral role for club and country in 2021.
Some critics have even claimed that he shouldn’t be in the top three as he is not the best player in either team, although that viewpoint is a little harsh.
The midfielder’s Nike Tiempo Legend boots had plenty of touches of the ball as the Blues upset the odds to win the Champions League title.
He then followed up by helping Italy deservedly clinch the European Championship crown after a penalty shoot-out against England.
Karim Benzema – adidas X Speedflow .1
The Real Madrid striker seems to have been around forever, but he remains one of the most prolific forwards in world football.
Benzema’s adidas X Speedflow boots helped him bag 30 goals in all competitions last season and he weighed in with another four for France at Euro 2020.
While he has continued in fine form at the start of the current campaign, his individual efforts fall short of the achievements of the top three.
When you factor in his part in conspiring to blackmail former international teammate Mathieu Valbuena, his inclusion this high up the list feels a little tasteless.
N’Golo Kante – adidas X Speedflow .1
Kante demonstrated the power of the adidas X Speedflow boots by claiming fifth place in this year’s Ballon d’Or awards.
Since Thomas Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard as Chelsea manager, the French international midfielder has looked back to his best.
This was evident in the latter stages of the Champions League when he was named as Man of the Match in both legs of the semi-final and the final.
He struggled to repeat that form at Euro 2020 with France, but can be proud to be included among such illustrious company.
Cristiano Ronaldo – Nike Mercurial Superfly
While he has tried to put a brave face on things, finishing so far adrift of Messi in the 2021 Ballon d’Or rankings will be hugely frustrating for Ronaldo.
The five-time winner had a disappointing year by his usual standards, failing to inspire Juventus or Portugal to any success.
His Nike Mercurial Superfly boots have helped him shine on his return to Manchester United, although the team’s performances have not matched his efforts.
The 36-year-old is still one of the best players in the world, but his days of winning Ballon d’Or awards appear to be over.