Legendary Lionel Messi Claims Eighth Ballon d’Or Crown After Leading Argentina to World Cup Glory

Read about Lionel Messi’s historic eighth Ballon d’Or win, earned through his exceptional leadership in leading Argentina to World Cup victory, making him a true football legend.

Lionel Messi wins his eighth Ballon d'Or
Lionel Messi wins his eighth Ballon d’Or.

Lionel Messi, the star of Inter Miami CF, has made history by securing his eighth Ballon d’Or, a record achievement. This remarkable feat was largely due to his pivotal role in leading Argentina to World Cup victory in Qatar last year. Messi, aged 36, is now the first MLS-based player to claim this coveted award. The presentation took place in Paris, where former Manchester United player and Inter Miami co-owner David Beckham had the honor of presenting Messi with the award.

Erling Haaland, the prolific Manchester City striker, finished in second place in the Ballon d’Or voting and was awarded the Gerd Muller Trophy for the best striker of the year, having scored an impressive 52 goals in the 2022-23 season as City achieved the Treble.

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In his acceptance speech, Messi expressed his gratitude, reflecting on his extraordinary career and the privilege of playing for the world’s best teams. He emphasized the significance of winning the Copa America and the World Cup, making all of his Ballon d’Or awards special in their own right.

Before Messi received his award, Aitana Bonmatí, the Barcelona and Spain midfielder, won the Ballon d’Or Féminin. She had an outstanding year with her club and country, contributing to Barcelona’s Liga F and Champions League victories before leading Spain to World Cup glory.

Additional awards were presented on the same occasion: Emiliano Martinez, Messi’s Argentine teammate, received the Yashin Trophy for the best goalkeeper, while Jude Bellingham, the young talent from England and Real Madrid, was honored with the Kopa Trophy as the world’s top player under the age of 21.

During his speech, Messi took a moment to remember the late Diego Maradona, whose birthday fell on the same day as the ceremony. Maradona, a football legend and 1986 World Cup winner, passed away in 2020.

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This eighth Ballon d’Or win solidified Messi’s status as the player with the most Ballon d’Or awards, surpassing Cristiano Ronaldo’s five titles. Prior to this, Messi had won the Ballon d’Or in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019, and 2021.

Although Messi had a successful season with Paris Saint-Germain, helping the team retain the Ligue 1 title, he made a significant move to Inter Miami in the United States. Since joining Miami, he has notched 11 goals in 14 games, contributing to the franchise’s first-ever Leagues Cup victory. However, his participation was limited towards the end of the regular MLS season due to injury.

It was Messi’s exceptional performance in the 2022 World Cup that ultimately earned him his eighth Ballon d’Or. As the captain of the Argentine national team, he scored seven goals and provided three assists, earning him the Player of the Tournament title. His goals in the final and penalty shootout against France were pivotal to Argentina’s historic World Cup win.

This victory marked a culmination of Messi’s long journey to win the World Cup, having come close in previous tournaments, including the 2014 World Cup final. At the age of 36 years and four months, Lionel Messi is now the second oldest player to win the Ballon d’Or, with only Stanley Matthews in 1956 being older when he claimed the award at the age of 41.

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Messi’s first six Ballons d’Or were won during his tenure at Barcelona, where he remains the club’s record goalscorer and appearance holder. His seventh Ballon d’Or was secured shortly after joining PSG in 2021, following his success with Argentina in the Copa America.

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