- Dec 11, 2023
- Aug 14, 2023
Lionel Messi claimed his eighth Ballon d’Or, extending his record, during a ceremony in Paris on Tuesday. The Inter Miami CF star secured this prestigious honour by outperforming the likes of Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe, marking his eighth victory in the competition, which is three more than his closest rival, Cristiano Ronaldo, who has won it five times.
This accomplishment solidifies Messi’s position as one of the all-time greats, and it’s especially remarkable given that he’s the first Major League Soccer (MLS) player to ever receive this coveted award. His remarkable achievements in the past year played a significant role in securing this accolade, particularly his instrumental role in leading Argentina to World Cup glory.
Messi, 36, received the award from the football legend and Inter Miami co-owner, David Beckham, in a grand Parisian ceremony. His outstanding performances in the previous season made him the rightful recipient of the Ballon d’Or, succeeding Karim Benzema as the winner of this prestigious accolade.
Erling Haaland, who scored an astounding 52 goals last season, contributing to Manchester City’s Treble win in 2022-23, secured the second position in the voting and also received the Gerd Muller Trophy, recognizing him as the best striker of the year.
One of the highlights of Messi’s incredible journey to his eighth Ballon d’Or was his exceptional performance in the 2022 World Cup. He single-handedly carried Argentina to victory, scoring a crucial brace in the final against France, a match that ultimately went to a penalty shootout where he also successfully converted a goal from the spot.
In his gracious acceptance speech, Messi expressed his gratitude for his incredible career and the fortune of playing for the best team in the world, calling it the “best team in history.” He reflected on the pleasure of winning individual trophies and the standing ovation he received from everyone present at the grand ceremony in Paris.
Watch the video here:
The moment when 🐐 was announced as the #BallonDor winner.
– Lionel Messi, the icon!pic.twitter.com/QNZOmBgeMe
— Mufaddal Vohra (@mufaddal_vohra) October 30, 2023
Over the past 15 years, the Ballon d’Or has been dominated by Messi and his longstanding rival, Cristiano Ronaldo, who have shared the award 13 times between them. Only two other players have managed to break this duopoly: Luka Modric in 2018 and Karim Benzema in the previous year, following his remarkable season with Real Madrid.
In 2022, Lionel Messi’s exceptional achievements extended well beyond his eighth Ballon d’Or victory. He earned the Golden Ball for his outstanding performance in the World Cup, where he scored an impressive total of 7 goals. Earlier in that year, he claimed the FIFA Men’s Player of the Year award, outperforming competitors Haaland and Kevin de Bruyne.
A significant change in the award’s criteria facilitated his Ballon d’Or triumph this year, as it now centers on a player’s performance in the previous season rather than the entire calendar year. Messi’s success transcended the international stage, with his acquisition of the Ligue 1 title with Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) before embarking on a new chapter with Inter Miami. There, he played a pivotal role in the team’s acquisition of their inaugural trophy, the League Cup. Messi’s eighth Ballon d’Or win solidified his position as one of the greatest footballers in history and established several records, making him not only the first MLS player to achieve this prestigious accolade but also the first player to secure the Golden Ball in three different decades.