Who is the King of football in 2021?
The year gone by was marked with a global pandemic that put football on the backseat. 2021 seems to be a promising year for the beautiful game, but who will conquer the sport and be the king of football in 2021?
There are strong cases for the usual suspects like Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo, but there are closer competitors for football’s undisputed top two players this year and a few surprise entries, too. Alley Sport brings to you our opinion on who could be the King of football in 2021.
Is Leo Messi the King of Football in 2021?
The Argentine superstar shocked the football world last summer, by officially announcing his desire to leave Barcelona to the club’s President via a burofax. The board at Barcelona refused to sell their most prized asset, and Messi was forced to run down his contract with the Catalans, which ends this season. With no news of a change of mind or a contract renewal, this could well be Messi’s last season with Barcelona.
Under new manager Ronald Koeman, Barcelona have had a poor start to their season. As of writing this article, the Blaugrana are 11 points from the top of the table which is occupied by arch-rivals Real Madrid.
However, they have progressed to the next round of the Champions League where Messi will be reunited with his former teammate Neymar Jr and his Paris Saint-Germain team. The odds are stacked firmly against Barcelona this season. But if there is one player in the world who can turn things around and win matches for them out of nowhere, it is their club captain. A Last Dance-esque season could be in the making for Messi, and a trophy-laden farewell to his 20-year swansong with Barcelona could be a fairy-tale story for generations to come.
Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus)
Juventus brought Cristiano Ronaldo to Turin from Real Madrid in 2018 for a reported 100 million Euros – with the sole purpose of winning the Champions League. The competition’s all time top scorer has 5 winners’ medals to his name. However, the last two seasons have been bitter-sweet for Ronaldo.
He was snubbed of the Balon d’Or in 2018, saw his rival overtake him in 2019 and if the 2020 award had been given out, there wouldn’t have been a case for the 5-time winner to add a 6th to his collection. While he has tasted success in the domestic level, adding the Italian league to his impressive resume which includes 3 Premier Leagues and 2 La Liga titles, Ronaldo’s ultimate aim would be winning the Champions League.
Much like Lionel Messi, Ronaldo’s Juventus have also seen a change of manager, with former player Andrea Pirlo taking up his first managerial role. Ronaldo will hope to complete a hat-trick of Serie A titles this year, while also challenging for the Champions League, where he will play against FC Porto in the round of 16.
Summer 2021 will also be important for Ronaldo, as he will be leading his national team into the postponed UEFA Euros. A successful defence of their Euro crown, a deep run in the UCL and a third successive league title might well be enough to name Ronaldo as the king of football in 2021.
Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
The Reds are sitting on top of the Premier League table, level on points with rivals Manchester United. They are going through an injury crisis with almost all of their first-choice central defenders on the sidelines. In this situation, boss Jurgen Klopp will rely heavily on his attack to carry the team to a record-equalling 20th English league title.
Egyptian forward Mohamed Salah will be at the focal point of Liverpool’s title defence, with ace centre-back Virgil van Dijk ruled out for the season. Salah already has 2 PL golden boot awards to his name, since 2017.
He is currently atop the goal-scoring charts with 13 goals. He will hope to add a third golden boot in 2021, along with another Premier League winners’ medal. The 2019 Champions League winners are also in the run for a 7th European title and will play against RB Leipzig in the Round of 16. Salah can also lead his club to a treble, as the team is yet to start their FA Cup campaign.
Bruno Fernandes (Man United)
A surprise contender , but one who is inevitably making his way into conversations about the best player in the Premier League, so far this season. Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes has scored 11 goals and provided 7 assists from midfield this season.
He is the only midfielder in the top-scorer chart in the Premier League. Fernandes has changed the atmosphere around Manchester United, leading by example and pushing his teammates to improve. The Portuguese, who arrived from Sporting CP in January 2020 for 47 million Euros, has transformed the club in a year’s time.
Fernandes has been the main man for United’s surprise push for the Premier League title. The Old Trafford club sit at 2nd place, level on points with rivals Liverpool. They are also into the semi-final of the Carabao Cup, where they will meet rivals Manchester City. United also compete in the Europa League, after dropping down from the UCL group stage.
Fernandes will want to go one step better than their 2019/20 FA Cup campaign. The club will start their FA Cup campaign this year against Championship side Watford. Should Bruno Fernandes lead Manchester United to a trophy (which would be their first in 3 years), or do the unexpected by challenging for the league title, he would be a strong contender for king of football in 2021. This is excluding the possibility of retaining the UEFA Euro with Portugal this summer.
Who do you think will be the King of football in 2021? Drop it in the comments section below.
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