Paris: The FIFA World Cup-winning Argentina legend Lionel Messi was crowned with the prestigious Ballon d’Or award for the eighth time in his decorated career on Monday night, an award that serves as a reminder of his brilliance as he reaches the final moments of his career.
With this award, Messi became the first player from Major League Soccer (MLS) to win the prestigious award. He represents the club Inter Miami.
Messi was presented with the award by none other than English football icon David Beckham, the owner of Inter Miami.
He previously won the award in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019 and 2021.
The young boy from Santa Fe who made his first appearance in 2004 has enjoyed a career that can be deemed nothing short of a fairytale.
Messi’s career which lasted for almost 30 years saw him heartbroken in 2014 after missing out on the World Cup and eight years later channelling the inner Maradona and redeeming himself by bringing the most prized possession – the World Cup trophy back to his homeland, Argentina.
His seven goals in the tournament raised a glimmer of hope in the hearts of each of his fans who dreamed of lifting him the World Cup trophy after Argentina lost unexpectedly to Saudi Arabia.
Messi who conquered France in the World Cup final later went on to become Ligue 1’s leading assist provider for French Giants Paris Saint Germain.
The Argentinian maestro won the Laureus Award for best male athlete of 2022 ahead of class athletes such as Rafael Nadal, Kylian Mbappe and Stephen Curry.
It was the second time Messi, won a Laureus – considered a sports Oscar – after securing it for the first time in 2020, an award he then shared with British Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton.
Messi was also honoured as the Best Men’s in February during the Best FIFA Football Awards ceremony which once again showcased his on-field prowess.
Erling Haaland, Manchester City’s star striker who won a treble with the club in the 2022-23 season and French and Paris Saint Germain (PSG) star Kylian Mbappe were placed second and third respectively.
Aitana Bonmati, the Spanish footballer representing FC Barcelona and the winner of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup got the Women’s Ballon d’Or award, which was presented by Serbian tennis legend Novak Djokovic. She was also the best player in the aforementioned tournament.
Manchester City won the title of ‘Club of the Year’. In the season 2022-23, the club won a treble, i.e. the Premier League, FA Cup and UEFA Champions League. They also captured the UEFA Super Cup this year.
Star Manchester City striker Erling Haaland was awarded the ‘Gerd Muller Trophy’ for the Best Striker of the Year. Haaland secured a treble of Championship titles with Manchester City in the 2022-23 season, winning the Premier League, FA Cup and UEFA Champions League.
Haaland went on a monumental goal-scoring spree, with a total of 56 goals in a single season, which was also his debut season with City. He broke the record for most goals by a Premier League player across all competitions in a season.
The ‘Yachine Trophy’ for the Goalkeeper of the Year went to Aston Villa FC and Argentina’s FIFA World Cup 2022 winning star Emiliano Martinez.
Jude Bellingham, the 20-year-old English midfielder currently playing for Spanish giants Real Madrid, was given the ‘Kopa Trophy’ for the best U21 player. He previously played for German giants Borussia Dortmund.
Vinicius Junior, the Brazillian winger representing Real Madrid, was given the ‘Socrates Award’ for founding Instituto Vini Jr for for education of young Brazillians through sports and technology.