Lionel Messi wins the 2023 Ballon d’Or

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Lionel Messi has won the Ballon d’Or for a record-extending eighth time, overcoming rivals like Erling Haaland, Kevin De Bruyne and Kylian Mbappe to once again be crowned the best player in world football.

In late 2022 Messi captained Argentina to victory at the World Cup. Messi scored seven goals in seven matches in Qatar and was awarded the Golden Ball as the best player at the tournament.

He moved to Inter Miami during the summer of 2023 and has light up MLS during his first months in the United States. He becomes the first man playing for a team outside of Europe to win the Ballon d’Or.

Messi was presented with the award by David Beckham, owner of Inter Miami, and the Argentine admitted this will be his last Ballon d’Or win.

He said: “I couldn’t imagine having the career that I’ve had.

“Everything that I’ve achieved. The fortune I’ve had playing for the best team in the world, the best team in history. It’s nice to win these individual trophies. To win the Copa America and then the World Cup, to get it done is amazing.

“Being world champion was fantastic. But the truth is I’ve never really got used to receiving awards and being on the stage like this.

“Slowly I have got used to it a bit more since winning it for the first time in 2009. I think today is the last time I will win it, so it feels calmer and I will enjoy it in a different way.

“I’m proud of the career I’ve had. I’ve enjoyed football all my life and soon I’ll enjoy it from the other side.

“I don’t know for how much longer I’ll play but I plan to enjoy it.

“I can’t put a number on it as things can change very quickly from day to day in football. But I know that day is getting closer and closer.”

This year’s triumph comes after Messi scooped the award in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019 and 2021. He is now three golden balls clear of long-time rival Cristiano Ronaldo, who was not included on this year’s shortlist.

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