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Messi Wins Eighth Ballon D’or As World’s Top Player

Written by on October 31, 2023

Argentine soccer star Lionel Messi won the 2023 Ballon d’Or, world soccer’s top individual award, for the eighth time on Monday evening in Paris.

The Inter Miami star was the favorite to win this year’s trophy after helping Argentina to victory in the FIFA World Cup in Qatar last December. The 36-year-old had an underwhelming season with Paris Saint-Germain followed by a successful time with Inter Miami over the summer, where he scored 11 goals in his first 14 matches with the MLS franchise and helped his new team win the Leagues Cup.

“I never thought I’d have the career I had,” Messi said after receiving the award. “It has been incredible.”

Messi’s eighth Ballon d’Or extends his lead of having the most ever, bettering Cristiano Ronaldo’s five. Last year, for the first time in 15 years, he was not among the nominees.

“Last but not least I also want to thank Diego Maradona. Today is his birthday,” he said of the late Argentine legend. “This award is for you. I share it with you.”

FC Barcelona midfielder Aitana Bonmati received the women’s Ballon d’Or. The 25-year-old led Spain to its World Cup triumph in Australia and New Zealand and Barcelona to the UEFA Women’s Champions League and the Liga F titles last year.

Born in Rosario, Argentina, Messi moved to Spain at age 13 to join FC Barcelona. He made his professional debut in 2004. He led the Catalan club to its first treble in the 2008-2009 season, the same year he won his first Ballon d’Or at age 22.

He won 34 trophies, including 10 LaLiga titles, seven Copa del Rey titles and three UEFA Champions League trophies with the Blaugrana. After 20 years with Barca, Messi joined PSG in 2021 for two seasons, leaving for Inter Miami in June.

His contract with Inter Miami is a two-and-a-half-year deal worth up to $150 million, including salary, signing bonus and equity in the team, Sportico reported. In addition to his contract, he will have additional revenue-sharing agreements with MLS partners Apple, Adidas and Fanatics.

Messi was the second highest-paid athlete in 2022, behind LeBron James, according to Sportico. Over his career, he is the seventh highest-paid athlete of all time, with $1.22 billion in earnings. He has endorsement deals with Adidas, Budweiser, Mastercard, Pepsi, Saudi Arabia Tourism and Socios. He is expected to exercise his ownership stake in Inter Miami after he is done playing for the team.

Manchester City’s Erling Haaland finished second to Messi in the voting, with Kylian Mbappé third. Aston Villa and Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez brought home the best goalkeeper award.

This year’s Kopa Trophy, the award presented to the best performing player worldwide under the age of 21, went to Real Madrid forward Jude Bellingham. The 20-year-old scored 15 goals in his 51 matches with his former team Bayern Munich last season.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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