At the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris on Monday, 36-year-old Lionel Messi once again demonstrated that age is just a number by winning his seventh Ballon d’Or. In a men’s 30-player list of contenders, the Inter Miami star defeated Erling Haaland of Manchester City to take first place. Haaland and Manchester City won the FA Cup, the Premier League, and the Champions League last season. The 2022–23 season was unforgettable for the former Barcelona star, who helped Argentina win the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar last year.
David Beckham, the co-owner of Inter Miami, presented Messi with his prize on stage. “This is a gift to the whole Argentina team for what we achieved,” Messi stated. Messi gave the trophy as a tribute to the late Diego Maradona, an Argentine icon who would have been 63 on Monday. “Happy Diego’s birthday. This is also for you,” he remarked.
A recent modification that bases the award on a player’s performance during the previous season rather than the calendar year helps Messi. Messi, 36, took home the 2009 Ballon d’Or. He now has eight, three more than the next most decorated player in the history of the trophy, his former rival Cristiano Ronaldo. It is unclear if Messi will be considered for the award once more. A journalist from each of the top 100 FIFA-ranked countries casts a vote for the winner. “I’m not considering the far future. Right now, I’m simply living each day to the fullest,” he remarked.
World Cup success of Lionel Messi
With the win in Qatar, Messi has now led his nation to victory in every major competition. Argentina overcame France in the World Cup final, winning 4-2 on penalties following a dramatic 3-3 draw in the first round of play. The Argentine captain’s penalty kick, earned for a foul on Angel Di Maria in the French box. It gave the CONMEBOL team the lead in the 23rd minute of a fiercely contested match. Then, in the 36th minute, Di Maria made it 2-0 thanks to a swift counterattack assisted by Alexis MacAllister.
When it appeared as though Argentina would win easily, Kylian Mbappe saved the day for France by pulling off a stunning comeback. After scoring a penalty in the 80th minute and a spectacular volley in the 81st. The PSG forward tied the score in 97 seconds. After Messi tied the score at three in the 108th minute of extra time. It appeared as though Argentina had won. But in the 118th minute, Mbappe saved his team once more, bringing the score to 3-3. After extra time, the game went to penalties. Emiliano Martinez, the goalie, emerged victorious, stopping Aurlien Tchouameni and Kingsley Coman as Argentina won 4-2 in the shootout. As the second-highest goalscorer in Qatar, Messi was awarded both the Golden Ball and the Silver Boot for his efforts there.
Messi won two club championships in 2023: the League Cup with Miami and the Ligue 1 championship with PSG. In the years 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019, and 2021, he won his remaining seven Ballon d’Or. After helping Argentina win the Copa America championship in 2021, he was also named The Best FIFA Men’s Player in 2022.
The award for women goes to Bonmati
With Bonmati received her medal for her role in Spain’s World Cup victory in Australia in August. The women’s competition appeared even more straightforward. The 25-year-old midfielder won the World Cup’s best player award as the Spanish squad triumphed against off-field unrest, which included demonstrations against coach Jorge Vilda and their national federation.
In addition, Bonmati was instrumental in Barcelona’s Champions League victory the previous year and was just awarded the UEFA Women’s Player of the Year title. She was one of four players from the victorious Spanish squad who made the 30 list of candidates. The other three were shortlisted players Alba Redondo and Salma Paralluelo. And full-back Olga Carmona, who scored the game’s winning goal.