PARIS: Lionel Messi won his record-extending eighth Ballon d’Or here on Monday, while Spain’s Aitana Bonmati claimed the women’s award, reported Xinhua.
The Argentine soccer great won the award for his exceptional performance at the Qatar World Cup last year when he led Argentina to the trophy with seven goals and was named the best player of the tournament.
Messi has won the most significant individual football award in the years of 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019, 2021, and now 2023.
“This is a gift to the whole Argentina team for what we achieved,“ said Messi, paying tribute to his teammates. “Becoming world champion was the title we were missing. I’d like to thank everyone who helped make Argentina the world champion team.”
He also dedicated the trophy to legendary Argentine footballer Diego Maradona, who passed away in 2020 and would have celebrated his 63rd birthday on Monday.
“Happy birthday Diego. This is for you too,“ he said.
Norwegian forward Erling Haaland came second for winning the UEFA Champions League, Premier League, and FA Cup title with Manchester City, while Qatar World Cup golden boot winner Kylian Mbappe was third.
Bonmati lifted the women’s Ballon d’Or, ahead of Australia’s Sam Kerr and compatriot Salma Paralluelo, for winning Spain’s first Women’s World Cup title in August.
In other awards, England’s Jude Bellingham was named the best under-21 player, while Haaland won the prize for the best striker of the year.
Messi’s national team teammate Emiliano Martinez won the Lev Yashin Award for best goalkeeper.-Bernama-Xinhua