Lionel Messi wins record eighth Ballon d’Or after World Cup glory with Argentina

By Sports Desk October 30, 2023

Lionel Messi was crowned Ballon d’Or winner for a record eighth time after leading Argentina to World Cup glory.

The 36-year-old scored twice in the final as Argentina saw off France to win the tournament for the first time in his illustrious career.

Messi has since moved to Inter Miami having left Paris St Germain at the end of last season – but it was his imperious form for his country in Qatar which saw him crowned Ballon d’Or winner by France Football once again.

Meanwhile, Barcelona and Spain midfielder Aitana Bonmati won the women’s Ballon d’Or following a trophy-laden campaign for the 25-year-old.

Messi beat Manchester City’s hot-shot striker Erling Haaland into second place for the men’s award on a night where Pep Guardiola’s treble winners were well-represented.

Kylian Mbappe – just the second man to score a World Cup final hat-trick – was third after starring in France’s run to the final.

Kevin De Bruyne finished fourth while Rodri came fifth, Julian Alvarez – also a team-mate of Messi at international level – was seventh, and Bernardo Silva was ninth as City players dominated the top 10.

Messi was presented with the award by David Beckham, owner of Inter Miami and runner-up in the 1999 Ballon d’Or, and was in a reflective mood.

“I couldn’t imagine having the career that I’ve had,” he said.

“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.”

City were also crowned the men’s team of the season after winning the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup last term.

Haaland’s fine season saw him win the Gerd Muller Trophy for the world’s top-scoring striker after hitting a record 56 goals last season.

Women’s Ballon d’Or winner Bonmati won a league and Champions League double before playing a pivotal role in Spain’s World Cup success, where she was also awarded the Golden Ball.

“This is a dream for me,” she said.

“I have really good players by my side. To reach three straight Champions League finals as a club is special. Let’s hope there’s much more to come.”

Bonmati beat Chelsea and Australia striker Sam Kerr into second place, with her Spain and Barcelona team-mate Salma Paralluelo coming third.

Two of England’s Lionesses who reached the World Cup final made the top 10, with Manchester United goalkeeper Mary Earps fifth and Rachel Daly of Aston Villa 10th.

Aston Villa and Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez won the Lev Yashin Trophy for goalkeeper of the year after his starring role in his nation’s World Cup win.

England international Jude Bellingham’s meteoric rise continued as he was voted the Kopa Award winner for the best under-21 player in the world.

The Real Madrid and England midfielder picked up the trophy after the 20-year-old finished 18th for the main award.

Bellingham has hit 13 goals in 13 appearances since moving to Madrid in the summer, including a double to lead Real to victory in his first El Clasico against Barcelona on Saturday, but his success was for last season – where he shone for Borussia Dortmund and England.

England captain Harry Kane was 19th, with Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka coming 24th – while Mohamed Salah of Liverpool just missed out on the top 10 as he was 11th.

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