Lionel Messi wins his eighth Ballon d’Or of his career

Messi now has the most titles.
The Ballon d’Or is a reputable individual award given out by France Football that is presented annually to the best male and female soccer players in the world. The award is considered one of the most prestigious honors in the sport. This year’s Ballon d’Or ceremony was held on Friday, Oct. 30 at Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris.

Argentine captain and Inter Miami forward Lionel Messi emerged as this year’s Men’s Ballon d’Or winner following his impressive performance in the 2022-2023 season. In 58 appearances for both club and country, Messi netted 45 goals and provided 26 assists. Notably, he led Argentina to a World Cup title and played a pivotal role in Paris Saint-Germain’s domestic doubles, where it won the Ligue 1 and French Super Cup.

This marked Messi’s eighth Ballon d’Or in his array of achievements, solidifying his status as the player with the most Ballon d’Or titles, with a three-title lead over his rival, Cristiano Ronaldo, who won the last of his five trophies in 2017. The 36-year-old has now finished among the top three, a record 14 times in total, and has finished as a runner-up on five occasions.

Messi joined the exclusive club of players who have won both the World Cup and the Ballon d’Or in the same cycle, being only the seventh men’s soccer player to achieve this distinction. Furthermore, Messi’s win made history as he became the first active player in Major League Soccer (MLS) to be crowned with the prestigious Ballon d’Or.

The other top contenders for the award were the Norwegian striker Erling Haaland and Messi’s former Paris-Saint Germain teammate, Kylian Mbappe. Haaland, who finished as the runner-up on this year’s ranking, enjoyed a brilliant debut season with Manchester City, finishing last season with 52 goals and nine assists in 53 matches. His prolific goal-scoring prowess contributed significantly to Manchester City’s memorable treble, which included its third consecutive English Premier League title and its first-ever Champions League trophy. In the same event, Haaland was awarded the prestigious Gerd Müller Trophy, previously known as the Striker of the Year or Best Striker Award in its first edition, which recognizes the highest-scoring player in the past year.

Messi’s compatriot, Emiliano Martinez, was honored with the Yashin Trophy, an award recognizing the best goalkeeper of the year. Martinez had a remarkable 2022-2023 season, contributing significantly to Aston Villa’s seventh-place finish in the Premier League, securing its qualification for the Europa Conference League Qualification. Notably, his last-minute match-winning save during the previous year’s World Cup final against France eventually helped Argentina win its third FIFA World Cup triumph.

Spanish midfielder Aitana Bonmati was announced as this year’s Ballon d’Or winner for the women’s category. In an exceptional 2022-2023 season, Bonmati played a central role in helping Spain lift the Women’s World Cup trophy in Australia this year. She was also honored as the Women’s World Cup’s Best Player and emerged as a key player in FC Barcelona Femení’s conquest of the Liga F title. Bonmati became only the second FC Barcelona Femini player to win the award after Alexia Putellas, who won the trophy in 2021 and 2022.

Meanwhile, two rising stars from Real Madrid received their own well-deserved recognition. Jude Bellingham, the latest high-profile signing from Borussia Dortmund, was honored with the Kopa Trophy, recognizing him as the best young footballing talent of the year. Brazilian forward Vinicius Junior, on the other hand, was presented with the Socrates Award, acknowledging his outstanding contributions in fighting against racism and for his hard work in improving access to education in Brazil.

Post Author: Aiman Akmal Hizam