Lionel Messi secured his eighth Ballon d’Or award, extending his record as one of the greatest football players globally. He triumphed over strong competition from Erling Haaland, who earned the Gerd Muller Trophy for being the highest scorer in Europe with 56 goals while playing for Manchester City. Messi, who last won the award in 2021, played a pivotal role in Argentina’s triumphant World Cup journey, marking their first title in 36 years.
Messi’s eighth Ballon d’Or win puts him three ahead of his long-time rival, Cristiano Ronaldo, who last won the award in 2017. This also marks the 14th time Messi has finished in the top three, with five runner-up positions.
“I couldn’t imagine having the career that I’ve had. Everything that I’ve achieved. The fortune I’ve had playing for the best team in the world, the best team in history. It’s nice to win these individual trophies. To win the Copa America and then the World Cup, to get it done is amazing,” Messi stated.
“All of them (Ballon d’Or awards) are special for different reasons,” he attached.
Emiliano Martinez, Messi’s World Cup-winning teammate, was honored with the Lev Yashin Award for being the world’s best goalkeeper, acknowledging his exceptional performances. In the women’s category, Aitana Bonmati, a Women’s World Cup winner and Barcelona midfielder from Spain, clinched the Ballon d’Or.
While Erling Haaland was a strong contender for his first Ballon d’Or, having scored 52 goals in 53 matches for Manchester City, it was Messi’s outstanding performance at the 2022 FIFA World Cup that ultimately secured him the award. At the World Cup, Messi earned the Golden Ball as the tournament’s best player and the Silver Boot with seven goals and three assists.
The World Cup was the only major trophy missing from Messi’s illustrious career, and Argentina’s victory in Qatar rectified their 2014 World Cup final loss to Germany. Messi also achieved a milestone by becoming only the third player in history to score 100 international goals in March.
In addition to international success, Messi’s club career saw him win the Ligue 1 title with Paris Saint-Germain before moving to Inter Miami, where he played a pivotal role in securing their first major trophy, the Leagues Cup.
Additional awards were presented, including the Kopa Trophy for the best Under-21 player, which went to Real Madrid and England midfielder Jude Bellingham. His club teammate, Vinicius Jr., received the Socrates Award for his humanitarian contributions off the pitch.
Furthermore, Manchester City and FC Barcelona Femeni were recognized as the Men’s and Women’s Club of the Season.
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