Lionel Messi won the Balon d’Or for the eighth time.
He surpassed Erling Haaland of Manchester City.
Messi is the only player to have won that many Balon d’Or awards.
Lionel Messi, the captain of Argentina, defeated Erling Haaland of Manchester City, the winner of the Treble and the UEFA Player of the Year from Norway, to claim the coveted Ballon d’Or, marking his record eighth win in the competition.
Messi of Inter Miami, who last took home the trophy in 2021, was a key figure in helping Argentina defeat France in the World Cup final last year and win their first championship in 36 years.
After winning the final three Ballons d’Or from rival Cristiano Ronaldo in 2017, the 36-year-old currently leads Ronaldo by three titles. With five second-place finishes, Messi has now placed in the top three a record 14 times overall.
Lionel Messi from @InterMiamiCF keeps extending his record with eight Ballon d’Or!
“I couldn’t imagine having the career that I’ve had. 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,” Messi said.
“All of them (Ballon d’Or awards) are special for different reasons,” he added.
“I’m happy to get that recognition that I’m getting thanks to what we have achieved with the national team,” Messi told the international media.
“This (World Cup) title we had been aiming for for so many years makes it even more special,” he said.
Asked if he would carry on until the 2026 World Cup, Messi said: “I don’t think about it. I’ll enjoy (my career) day by day. There will first be the Copa America in the United States (in 2024). (The World Cup), I don’t think about it.”