On Monday, France Football unveiled the winners of the 2021 Ballon d'Or awards. Barcelona Femeni's Alexia Putellas won the women's award, while Lionel Messi bagged a record-extending seventh trophy. It's an impressive feat for the Argentine, but not everyone is fully behind the decision. Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos believes that his teammate, Karim Benzema, deserved to win.

Just hours after the winner was announced during a ceremony in Paris, Kroos took to Twitter to share the link to a podcast where he explains why he believes Benzema should have received his first Ballon d'Or this year. "Congrats to Leo Messi!!! My choice would have been @Benzema! Why? Listen here," he said before sharing links to his podcast interview.

While it is expected that the German would support his teammate, many reacted with the same sentiments over Twitter.

Out of all his seven trophies so far, this is by far Messi's least convincing year. Ahead of the ceremony, many were backing Bayern Munich forward Robert Lewandowski, who is believed to have been the front runner in 2020 if the pandemic did not force the award to be cancelled.

Some fans pointed out that Messi was actually helped by the fact that Lewandowski's votes were diluted by those who pushed for both Benzema and Chelsea star Jorginho. The Italian also received intense backing after winning both the UEFA Champions League and the European Championship this year.

Various reactions were flying all over the internet, but many were of course happy to see Messi receive the award after finally winning a major trophy with Argentina. Despite having had a disappointing season with Barcelona, the Copa America win boosted Messi's case for the Ballon d'Or.

For his part, Benzema was gracious in defeat, saying "Thanks to everyone who support me I play football for you and the show must go on." Months ago, the Frenchman admitted that winning the prestigious trophy is a childhood dream. He has had a scorching start to the season, and this was his first real chance at winning the award. He will have to wait another year to give it another shot.

Messi
Lionel Messi won his seventh Ballon d'Or after a year in which he captained Argentina to victory at the Copa America and left Barcelona for PSG AFP / FRANCK FIFE