Lionel Messi secured his record-breaking eighth Ballon d’Or title during a star-studded ceremony in Paris on Monday. This remarkable achievement cements his status as one of the greatest footballers in history.
Messi’s momentous year included captaining Argentina to victory in the 2022 World Cup, an elusive achievement that brought immense joy to the nation. This World Cup win was especially poignant as it ended Argentina’s 36-year wait for the prestigious title.
One of the most memorable moments of this triumph was Messi’s performance in the thrilling final against France. In a match that ended 3-3 after extra time, he not only scored twice but also calmly converted his penalty in the shoot-out. For his exceptional display, he rightfully received the player of the match award.
During the World Cup, Messi demonstrated his scoring prowess by finishing second in the top goalscorer charts with an impressive tally of seven goals. His outstanding contributions throughout the tournament earned him the Golden Ball, a fitting recognition of his remarkable campaign.
Messi’s journey to this eighth Ballon d’Or victory is a testament to his enduring talent and his ability to consistently reach new heights on the football field.
On stage, he said:
“Thank you very much, to share this with my national team-mates for what we were able to achieve with the national team.
“The entire group, the coaching staff, everyone involved. I’m delighted to be here once more to be able to enjoy this moment one more time.
Messi faced stiff competition from other top football stars, including Manchester City’s Erling Haaland and his former Paris Saint-Germain teammate Kylian Mbappe, as well as 26 other nominees.
However, he emerged victorious to claim the prestigious Ballon d’Or award.
During the 2022/23 season, which saw PSG clinch the league title, Messi was in exceptional form.
He featured in 41 matches, netting an impressive 21 goals and contributing with 20 assists, showcasing his all-around brilliance.
His World Cup performance in Qatar was nothing short of remarkable. Messi notched two goals during the group stage and continued to shine in the knockout rounds.
He found the back of the net against tough opponents, including Australia, the Netherlands, and Croatia, ultimately sealing his World Cup journey with a crucial goal in the final match.
“To be able to win the World Cup and really achieve my dream, to share this with all those who were involved.”
Fittingly, after his World Cup success, he added:
“To finish, I want to say happy birthday to Diego Maradona.”