Argentina’s football legend, Lionel Messi has clinched his eighth Ballon d’Or, establishing a new record in the world of football accolades.
The Inter Miami star beat out stiff competition from Manchester City’s Erling Haaland and former PSG teammate Kylian Mbappe to claim the prestigious honor.
Messi’s victory had been widely anticipated in the football community for the past few weeks, and it was officially confirmed by France Football, the organizing body behind the Ballon d’Or.
The journey to Messi’s eighth Ballon d’Or began back in 2009 when he first secured the title.
Over 15 years, he continued to demonstrate his exceptional talent and resilience, consistently performing at the pinnacle of the sport.
The shortlist for this year’s Ballon d’Or included Messi, Mbappe, and Haaland, as announced by the organizers.
Messi and Mbappe, during their time as teammates at Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), played pivotal roles in securing an 11th league title for the club, with Messi setting a remarkable record of 16 league assists and Mbappe winning the Golden Boot with 29 goals.
Their outstanding performances at the World Cup also contributed to their presence on the podium.
Messi led the Argentina national team to victory in the tournament, netting a brace in the final match against France.
His seven goals in the competition cemented his legacy.
Meanwhile, Mbappe, powered by his incredible hattrick in the World Cup final, became the first player since Geoff Hurst in 1966 to achieve such a feat.
On the other hand, Erling Haaland’s nomination was driven by his exceptional club season with Manchester City.
Under the guidance of manager Pep Guardiola, Haaland played a pivotal role in winning the treble, with an astonishing 53 goals in the previous season, including a Premier League record of 35 goals.
His 11 goals in the Champions League also made him the top scorer in that competition, securing him the league and UCL golden boots.
Messi’s victory, as widely predicted by numerous reports leading up to the award ceremony, solidified his status as one of the greatest footballers of all time.
This eighth Ballon d’Or joins his impressive collection of accolades, with his first win dating back to 2009.