Monday evening's glamorous, excessive ceremony in Paris confirmed the Ballon d'Or is mere opinion and shouldn't be taken remotely as gospel.

As Lionel Messi claimed a record seventh title, Liverpool fans across the world were stunned to see Mohamed Salah finish seventh.

That's seventh behind Cristiano Ronaldo, a man with four domestic goals to his name this season. To quote Roy Keane, I am flabbergasted.

Salah is the best player in the Premier League right now, a division which is supposed to be the best in the world.

He's scored 11 goals and produced eight assists in 13 league outings this term - statistics that put him head and shoulders above the rest in England.

Mohamed Salah finished seventh in this year's Ballon d'Or (

Image:

Getty Images)

It's not just the amount of goals the forward's been involved in that's impressed, it's also the way he's championed Jurgen Klopp's electric style of football.

Salah's pace and directness installs fear in every Premier League defence, while his finishing is up there with the very best European football has to offer.

He's a man at the top of his game. If he isn't going to win the Ballon d'Or now, when is he?

In fairness to Messi, the Argentine magician has enjoyed a vintage year for both club and country - finally delivering a trophy at international level.

And Robert Lewandowski, who came second, deserves to be retrospectively given last year's award after it was controversially cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

But Salah still warrants a place in the top three ahead of Chelsea midfielder Jorginho, who isn't consistently performing at the same ridiculously high standard.

Instead, the Egyptian King was overlooked - viewed as just a cog in Klopp's relentless machine.

Salah came sixth in the 2018 Ballon d'Or and fifth 12 months later. He gets ignored for the top awards time and time again, despite receiving constant praise.

"I think not only this year, the last two or three seasons have been amazing," said World Cup winner Fernando Torres earlier this month.

"I think he has been one of the best two or three players in the world in the past five or six years. It's amazing, the consistency."

Speaking in October, Jamie Carragher claimed: “I don’t think there’s anyone playing better in the world at this moment or in European football, I really don’t.

"Seeing the Champions League in the last few weeks, his record at the start of this season has been absolutely outstanding.

"You can never really question him too much for what he’s done at Liverpool, if at all, but right now he is probably as sharp and as good as I’ve ever seen him."

There was some justice for Salah on Monday evening, as he was named the Football Supporters' Association Men's Player of the Year. But that's nothing compared to the Ballon d'Or.

Salah is in the same league as Messi, Lewandowski and any other top player you can think of. It's about time he was treated as such.

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