Messi wins his 8th Ballon d’Or to update his collection of the prestigious men’s title and make him a Ballon d’Or higher than Pele.
Lionel Messi, who led Argentina to the World Cup championship in Qatar last year, achieved his lifelong dream of winning the men’s Ballon d’Or again on Monday for a record-breaking eighth time.
The deciding factor in what would have otherwise been a fairly unremarkable season at Paris Saint-Germain by his standards was adding the one big trophy that eluded him during his illustrious career to his collection of awards.
Erling Haaland of Manchester City and Kylian Mbappe, Messi’s former PSG teammate, were beaten by the 36-year-old Messi.
Messi won his 8th Ballon d’Or and expressed gratitude to his teammates, staff, and coach from Argentina for making his victory possible.
“Tonight I’m enjoying myself. It’s a pleasure that will never leave me, and I hope to be able to enjoy it for many years to come,” Messi said through a translator. “Becoming world champion was the title we were missing. I’d like to thank everyone who helped make Argentina the world champion team.”
Messi also honored Diego Maradona, who passed away in 1986 and assisted Argentina in winning the World Cup.
Messi stated, “I share this title and this trophy with you and all of our Argentina comrades.”
After leading Spain to victory in the August Women’s World Cup, Aitana Bonmati was named the winner of the women’s award. She also assisted Barcelona in winning the Spanish League and Women’s Champions League.
Messi has regained his title a year after failing to make the 2022 Ballon d’Or shortlist and in spite of quitting elite European soccer.
He had a spectacular World Cup, which earned him the greatest individual award in the sport. Messi contributed to ten goals for Argentina in Qatar, including three assists and seven goals himself. Against France in the final, he scored twice.
Less flashy was his final season with PSG. Despite winning a record-breaking eleventh French title, PSG was eliminated in the round of 16 of the Champions title once more.
There is no other winner of more than five Ballon d’Or. Johan Cruyff, Marco van Basten, Michel Platini, and Cristiano Ronaldo each have three victories.
Messi won his first trophy in the United States after joining Inter Miami, when he led the team to the U.S. Leagues Cup championship.
With his most recent victory, Messi became the first player from Major League Soccer to get this kind of honor. One of the owners of Messi’s new team, former Manchester United player David Beckham, gave him the trophy.
“I’m very happy with the decisions I’ve made and to be with Miami,” Messi said.
He was Karim Benzema’s successor.
After scoring a hat trick in the World Cup final, Mbappe thought another Frenchman would take home the Ballon d’Or, even though France ultimately lost in a penalty shootout.
Haaland scored 52 goals and guided Manchester City to three titles last season: the FA Cup, the English Premier League, and the Champions League.
Prior to this, Bonmati had won the Golden Ball for the best player in the Women’s World Cup and the UEFA Best Women’s Player award. During the competition, she recorded three goals and two assists.
She emulated Alexia Putellas, a teammate who had won the previous two awards.
Sam Kerr and Salma Paralluelo lost to Bonmati.
“We are a country that lives football, intensely,” Bonmati said. “We have a unique talent in Spain.”
Last year was the first year that the trophy given out by France Football magazine was determined by performance from the previous year. In the past, it was given out according to how well a person performed over a certain year. In 1956, Stanley Matthews took home the inaugural Ballon d’Or.
The epidemic caused both the women’s trophy, which was introduced in 2018, and the men’s trophy to be discontinued in 2020.
Haaland was named the year’s finest striker by the Gerd Müller Award, while Jude Bellingham was named the best under-21 player.
Emiliano Martinez won the Lev Yashin Award for outstanding goalie. The audience at the Theatre du Chatelet, which featured Mbappe and France coach Didier Deschamps, showered the Argentina goalie with jeers and whistles in addition to his prize.
Martinez faced backlash for his extravagant manner of celebrating the World Cup. As Argentina walked the trophy home, he stood next to teammate Messi, carrying a doll featuring Mbappe’s face. After receiving the Golden Glove trophy for best goalkeeper, Martinez was caught on camera making a vulgar gesture and making fun of Mbappe in the team changing room.
Vinicius Junior won the humanitarian award named for the late Brazil midfielder Socrates because of his work with the foundation he established for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. The Real Madrid player promised to continue the battle against racism after being the object of racial taunts in the Spanish league.