The 2023 Ballon d’Or winner has been revealed, and Lionel Messi has earned a record-extending eighth trophy.
The former Inter Miami and Argentina striker, who spent last season with Paris Saint-Germain, led Argentina to the World Cup in Qatar last December, ending a 36-year wait for the South American country. Messi, 36, has won the accolade three times, the most of any player.
Lionel Messi was crowned the Ballon d’Or 2023 winner on Monday at a ceremony in Paris, his eighth time winning the coveted award.
Last winter, Messi lead Argentina to 2022 World Cup victory in Qatar, the first time he had won the championship, which ended a 36-year drought for La Albiceleste.
The 36-year-old scored twice in a nail-biting final against France in December, which ended 3-3 after extra time, and also scored in the penalty shoot-out, earning him player of the match honors.
Messi defeated Erling Haaland of Manchester City and Kylian Mbappe of Paris Saint-Germain, as well as 26 other nominations, to win the honor.
During PSG’s league-winning season in 2022/23, he played 41 games, scoring 21 goals and providing 20 assists.
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Messi’s Journey To Winning The 2023 Ballon d’Or
Messi scored twice in the group stage and was on target in each knockout round at the World Cup in Qatar, scoring against Australia, the Netherlands, and Croatia, as well as in the final.
He finished second in the top goalscorer lists with seven goals and was awarded the Golden Ball at the tournament’s end in appreciation of his outstanding performance.
He stated on stage:
“Thank you very much, to share this with my national team-mates for what we were able to achieve with the national team.
“The entire group, the coaching staff, everyone involved. I’m delighted to be here once more to be able to enjoy this moment one more time.
“To be able to win the World Cup and really achieve my dream, to share this with all those who were involved.”
Fittingly, after his World Cup success, he added: “To finish, I want to say happy birthday to Diego Maradona.”
Messi went to Inter Miami in MLS on a free transfer when his contract at PSG expired in the summer, and he was one of three players nominated for the award who do not presently play in Europe.
Between 2004 and 2021, the former Barcelona attacker spent 17 years with the Spanish club, winning the trophy in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019, and 2021.
He was 22 years old when he got his first prize in 2009, and now he has a record eighth.
Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal and Al Nassr is in second position with five wins, however he was not nominated for the 2023 edition, the first time he has not been nominated since 2003.
The Premier League received several nominations, with Haaland, Kevin De Bruyne, and Julian Alvarez among the seven Manchester City players nominated.
Speaking to his fellow nominees, he said: “Hats off to Kylian [Mbappe], Erling, Kevin, You guys are very young, you’ve achieved so much already, so plenty of time left.”
England’s Harry Kane, Bukayo Saka and Jude Bellingham were also nominated.
Balloon D’Or Award Picture Gallery
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