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The 2023 Ballon d’Or Award Ceremony: Lionel Messi Crowned Once More

Lionel Messi claimed an unprecedented eighth Ballon d’Or award, solidifying his status as one of the greatest players of all time. The Inter Miami captain stands as the player with the most Ballon d’Or trophies in history, leaving his rival Cristiano Ronaldo, who holds five Ballon d’Or awards, in second place.

In a captivating showdown against France, Argentina emerged victorious after a 36-year World Cup title drought, with Messi playing a pivotal role in the tournament.

Messi won the Golden Ball for being the best overall player and the Silver Boot for scoring seven goals and providing three assists in the tournament.

In a highly competitive race for the award, Messi beat the rising star Erling Haaland, the UEFA Player of the Year and winner of the Premier League, FA Cup and UEFA Champions League with Manchester City. 

Haaland had an extraordinary season, scoring 52 goals in 53 matches across all competitions, earning his Ballon d’Or nomination this year.

Upon receiving the award, Messi expressed his humility, stating that he could never have envisioned the remarkable career he has enjoyed and all that he has accomplished. He acknowledged the privilege of playing for the world’s finest team, considering it the best in history. 

He also expressed his appreciation for winning individual accolades, highlighting the incredible feeling of securing victories in the Copa America and the World Cup.

When asked about what his plans were moving forward and the potential of participating in the 2026 World Cup, Messi responded by stating that he doesn’t dwell on such thoughts. 

Instead, he emphasized the importance of living his career day by day, highlighting the upcoming Copa America in the United States in 2024. As for the World Cup, he remained non-committal, choosing not to focus on it at this time.

Messi’s World Cup-winning teammate, Emiliano Martinez, received the Lev Yashin award for the world’s best goalkeeper, further highlighting Argentina’s success on the global stage.

In the women’s category, Spain’s Aitana Bonmati, a Women’s World Cup winner and Barcelona midfielder, secured the Ballon d’Or, emphasizing the growing prominence of women’s football.

The prestigious Kopa Trophy for the best Under-21 player went to Real Madrid and England midfielder Jude Bellingham, acknowledging his exceptional talent and potential in the sport.

Real Madrid’s Vinicius Jr. was awarded the Socrates Award for his outstanding humanitarian work off the pitch, emphasizing football’s power to create positive change in the world.

Lionel Messi’s record-breaking eighth Ballon d’Or victory stood out as a testament to his unparalleled skill, dedication and enduring impact on the world of football. With an illustrious career that continues to inspire fans and fellow athletes alike, Messi’s legacy is destined to be etched in the annals of football history for generations to come.

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