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Friday, July 19, 2024

The Eighth Wonder: Lionel Messi’s Historic Ballon D’or Triumph

By John Adiasi

Lionel Messi has secured his place in football history by winning an extraordinary eighth Ballon d’Or award. The 2023 winner was announced at a ceremony in Paris, where Messi received the prestigious award for the eighth time in his career. This remarkable achievement further cements Messi’s status as one of the greatest footballers of all time.

Last year, Messi captained Argentina to victory in the 2022 FIFA World Cup held in Qatar. This momentous triumph ended a 36-year-long wait for the Argentine national team. In the final against France, Messi showcased his brilliance by scoring two goals in a thrilling match that ended 3-3 after extra time. He also scored in the penalty shoot-out and was named the player of the match.

Reflecting on this monumental achievement, Messi expressed his joy, saying, “Winning the World Cup and fulfilling my dream, and being able to share this with everyone involved, is truly incredible.” Additionally, Messi took a moment to honor the late Diego Maradona, saying, “To finish, I want to wish a happy birthday to Diego Maradona.”

After his contract with Paris Saint-Germain expired, Messi made a move to Inter Miami in Major League Soccer (MLS) as a free transfer. This makes him one of three nominees for the Ballon d’Or who are currently not playing in Europe. Prior to his move, Messi spent an impressive 17 years at Barcelona from 2004 to 2021, during which he won the Ballon d’Or in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019, and 2021.

Lionel Messi’s record-breaking eighth Ballon d’Or award solidifies his legendary status in the world of football. Cristiano Ronaldo, captain of Portugal and Al Nassr, trails behind with five wins but was not nominated for the 2023 edition, marking the first time he has been absent from the nominations since 2003.

The Premier League was well-represented in the nominations, with players such as Erling Haaland, Kevin De Bruyne, and Julian Alvarez among the seven Manchester City players put forward. Other notable nominations included England’s Harry Kane, Bukayo Saka, and Jude Bellingham.

In addition to Messi’s accolade, Aitana Bonmati from Spain, who also won the World Cup, claimed the fifth edition of the Ballon d’Or Feminin. Real Madrid’s Jude Bellingham was recognized as the best young player and received the Kopa Trophy.

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