On Monday, Lionel Messi bagged his record 7th men’s Ballon d’Or for the best player in the world-beating his close competitors Robert Lewandowski and Jorginho. Previously, Messi won football’s most prestigious award in the years 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, and 2019.
After receiving the award, Messi said, “Today I’m here in Paris. I am very happy, really very happy, I really want to continue to fight and reach new objectives. I don’t know how many more years but I am really enjoying myself. I thank my teammates at Barça, Paris & Argentina.”
“I don’t know if it’s the best year of my life, I’ve had a long career, but it was a special one with the title with Argentina after the tough times and the criticism.”
In July this year, Messi led Argentina to win the title of Copa America for the first time. Later in August, he decided to leave his former club Barcelona and joined Paris St Germain on a free transfer.
In his run for this year’s Ballon d’Or, Messi collected 630 points while last year’s favourite Bayern Munich striker Lewandowski ended up with 580 points and grabbed the title the Striker of the Year.
Chelsea midfielder Jorginho, who won last season’s Champions League with his club and was a crucial part of Italy’s Euro 2020 winning squad, ranked third with 460 points.
Meanwhile, Cristiano Ronaldo, another familiar name in the run for Ballon d’Or, finished outside of the top three for the first time since 2010. Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah, Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema and PSG’s Kylian Mbappe and Neymar were also nominated for the prestigious award.
Barcelona Femeni and Spain midfielder Alexia Putellas was crowned with the Ballon d’Or Feminin, which is a 2018 addition to recognize top women players. She was the architect behind the first-ever Champions League victory against Chelsea.
“I’m very emotional, it’s a very special moment. I would like to start by thanking all my teammates, especially my current (Barcelona) teammates. For me it’s a collective success,” she said through her translator in the ceremony.
AC Milan’s Gianluigi Donnarumma, who was also a finalist for the Ballon d’Or best player, won the title of the Goalkeeper of the Year while Barca midfielder Pedri was named for the Kopa Trophy as Europe’s best young player. Chelsea was named the Team of the Year following their wins in the UEFA Champions League (men’s) and the Women’s Super League.
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