Lionel Messi, a striker with Inter Miami and Argentina, has won the Men’s Ballon d’Or for eight times. At the Paris event, the 36-year-old was acknowledged for his role in his country’s World Cup victory in Qatar the previous year.
Jude Bellingham, a midfielder for Real Madrid and England, was named the world’s greatest under-21 player and received the Kopa Trophy.
Messi defeated Manchester City striker Erling Haaland to win his record-breaking Ballon d’Or.
Kylian Mbappe, a striker for France, came in third after becoming just the second player to score a hat-trick in the World Cup final’s 4-2 penalty shootout defeat to Argentina.
Messi said, “It’s nice to be here once more to enjoy this moment. To be able to win the World Cup and achieve my dream.” He added, “I couldn’t imagine having the career I’ve had and everything I’ve achieved, the fortune I’ve had to be part of the best team in history. All of them [Ballon d’Or awards] are special for different reasons.”
Haaland, a player for Norway, set a league record by scoring 36 goals in 35 league games and 52 overall as City won the Premier League, Champions League, and FA Cup.
The Gerd Muller Trophy for top striker was given to him in recognition of his accomplishments.
Women’s Ballon d’Or
Aitana Bonmati, a midfielder for Barcelona and Spain, won her first Women’s Ballon d’Or.
The 25-year-old had a very great year, winning the World Cup with her nation and helping her team win the Champions League and the Spanish premier division.
In August, she was also named the Player of the Year by Uefa.
“I’m very proud to win the Ballon d’Or. Football is a collective sport so I’d like to extend this prize to my team-mates and staff,” Bonmati said.
After almost finishing her speech, she added,”Finally congratulations to the other nominees. They’re great footballers. As role models we have a responsibility on and off the pitch. We should be more than athletes and keep leading by example and fighting together for a better, peaceful and equal world.”