Lionel Messi, the legendary Argentine footballer, has once again made history by winning the prestigious Ballon d’Or for a record-extending eighth time in 2023.
This remarkable achievement comes after Messi led Argentina to World Cup glory in Qatar, fulfilling a lifelong dream and adding the one major trophy that had previously eluded him.
At 36 years old, Messi’s win is a testament to his enduring skill and influence in the sport. Despite what some might consider a less extraordinary season with Paris Saint-Germain, his World Cup performance was a decisive factor in this latest accolade.
In Qatar, Messi was directly involved in 10 goals, scoring seven and assisting three, including a memorable performance in the final against France.
Messi’s victory is not just a personal triumph but also a milestone for Major League Soccer (MLS), as he is the first player to win the Ballon d’Or while actively playing in the league, representing Inter Miami. This achievement has brought significant attention to MLS, marking a new chapter in its history.
In his acceptance speech, Messi expressed his gratitude towards his Argentina coach, teammates, and staff, dedicating his win to them and the late Diego Maradona, another Argentine legend who led the country to World Cup victory in 1986.
Messi’s humility and acknowledgment of those who have supported him reflect the character that has endeared him to fans worldwide.
The women’s Ballon d’Or was awarded to Aitana Bonmati for her exceptional performance in leading Spain to victory at the Women’s World Cup and her contributions to Barcelona’s success in the Women’s Champions League and Spanish league.
Other notable awards included the best under-21 player going to Jude Bellingham, the Gerd Müller award for the best striker to Erling Haaland, and the Lev Yashin award for the best goalkeeper to Emiliano Martinez, who also played a crucial role in Argentina’s World Cup victory.