Lionel Messi won a record eighth Ballon d’Or on Monday. David Beckham presented the trophy.
The great Argentinian player fulfilled his life’s ambition by leading his country to the World Cup championship held in Qatar last year, winning the only major trophy that eluded him throughout his career.
Spaniard Aitana Bonmati won the women’s award after leading her country to victory at the Women’s World Cup in August. He was the favorite of the ceremony.
Messi claimed his first silverware since moving to Inter Miami in the United States, thereby inspiring the team to victory in the US Leagues Cup.
Despite leaving Europe’s top-flight football behind, Messi was still predicted to beat Manchester City striker Erling Haaland to claim the sport’s biggest individual prize. Haaland won the Gerd Muller Award 2023 as last season’s best striker for club and country. Manchester City was chosen as the best men’s club of the year.
Paris Saint-Germain and France striker Kylian Mbappe was also in contention to replace Karim Benzema, who was 34 last year and became the oldest winner since Stanley Matthews, the first winner in 1956.
Mbappe scored a boundary trick in the World Cup final despite France losing in a penalty shoot-out.
Haaland scored 52 goals, leading City to three trophies last season: the Champions League, the English Premier League and the FA Cup.
Messi won his first Ballon d’Or in 2009 and his seventh in 2021.
Bonmati was also awarded the Golden Ball awards as the UEFA Best Women’s Player and the best player of the Women’s World Cup. He scored 3 goals and made 2 assists in the tournament.
The cup, awarded by France Football magazine for the first time last year, was given based on the successes achieved last season. Previously, it was awarded based on performances throughout a calendar year.
The women’s cup was created in 2018 and both were canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic.