Lionel Messi Claims Record 8th Ballon d’Or, Honored for World Cup Triumph

messi-8th-ballon-do'r

The 2023 Ballon d’Or winner has been officially revealed, and it’s none other than Lionel Messi, who has now clinched this prestigious award for an astonishing eighth time. Messi, the renowned striker who currently plays for Inter Miami and hails from Argentina, had a brief stint with Paris Saint-Germain last season. His remarkable achievement includes captaining Argentina to World Cup victory in Qatar last December, ending a 36-year-long drought for his South American homeland. Notably, Messi, at 36 years of age, now holds the record with three more Ballon d’Or awards than anyone else in the history of the sport.

Messi faced stiff competition from top-tier players like Erling Haaland of Manchester City and his former Paris Saint-Germain teammate Kylian Mbappe, along with 26 other nominees, but emerged victorious.

The announcement of Lionel Messi as the 2023 Ballon d’Or winner took place at a ceremony in Paris on Monday, marking his eighth triumph in this highly coveted recognition. His leadership propelled Argentina to triumph at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, an achievement that fulfilled the nation’s dreams after decades of anticipation. In the thrilling final against France in December, Messi showcased his brilliance by scoring two crucial goals in a game that ultimately ended 3-3 after extra time. He also made his mark in the penalty shoot-out and was rightfully named the match’s standout player.

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During the 2022/23 season, which saw PSG clinch a league title, Messi played a pivotal role in 41 matches, contributing 21 goals and 20 assists. His World Cup performance was equally outstanding, with goals in the group stage and each knockout round, where he found the net against teams like Australia, the Netherlands, and Croatia, culminating in a goal in the final.

Upon receiving the award, Messi expressed his gratitude: “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.”

As a fitting tribute, he added, “To finish, I want to say happy birthday to Diego Maradona.”

The forward spent 17 remarkable years with Barcelona from 2004 to 2021 and previously secured the Ballon d’Or in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019, and 2021.

Cristiano Ronaldo, the captain of Portugal and Al Nassr, is in second place with five Ballon d’Or awards, but he was not nominated for the 2023 edition, marking the first time he hasn’t been in contention for the award since 2003.

Image source: footballtransfers.com

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