The world of football was once again illuminated by the brilliance of Lionel Messi, who achieved the almost unimaginable feat of winning his eighth Ballon d'Or title. This year, it wasn't just about his commendable journey with Inter Miami CF; it was more about his crowning glory - leading Argentina to World Cup success. This achievement not only cements his place among football's elite but also etches his name deeper into the very soul of the sport, resonating with fans and players across generations.
Ballon d'Or 2023: Messi's Eighth Win Over Haaland
Football • 31 Oct, 2023 • 2,838 Views • ⭐ 4.3
Written by Anand Swami
Messi's Golden Journey
Lionel Messi, at 36, clinched the Ballon d'Or for an unparalleled eighth time, initially winning it in 2009. His journey with teams such as Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain has been remarkable. Inter Miami CF, his current club, saw Messi become the first MLS-based player to claim this prestigious accolade. His Ballon d'Or victories, starting in 2009 and spanning years like 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019, and 2021, truly set him apart.
World Cup Triumph
Argentina's victory at the World Cup last year was pivotal in Messi's Ballon d'Or win. The nation celebrated after a 36-year hiatus, with Messi leading the charge. As the captain, he not only scored seven goals but also assisted in three, rightfully being named the Player of the Tournament. His crucial goals in the final and during the penalty shootout against France further solidified his impact.
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MLS Magic with Inter Miami
After transferring to MLS franchise Inter Miami CF, Messi's brilliance on the field remained undiminished. With 11 goals in just 14 matches, he was crucial in the team clinching the Leagues Cup, their first-ever silverware. However, Messi faced some challenges, missing a few games due to injury, impacting the team's push for the playoff spot.
Other Stalwarts of the Night
While Manchester City's Erling Haaland didn't clinch the top honour, he was awarded the Gerd Muller Trophy after netting 52 goals last season. Barcelona's Aitana Bonmatí was recognized for her exceptional year by receiving the Ballon d'Or Féminin. Additionally, Messi's compatriot from Argentina, Emiliano Martinez, was honoured with the Yashin Trophy, solidifying his position as the world's top goalkeeper.
A Tribute to a Legend
Messi, in his acceptance speech, remembered the iconic Diego Maradona on what would have been his 63rd birthday. This heartfelt homage to one of football's greatest highlights the profound admiration Messi has for Maradona. Messi's tribute underscored Maradona's influence, reminiscing about his love for football and expressing heartfelt wishes from amidst the finest football personalities.
A Legacy that Speaks
Before this award ceremony, Messi already held the record for the most Ballon d'Or wins. This recent triumph further establishes him as one of football's greatest, outshining legends like Cristiano Ronaldo, Michel Platini, and Johan Cruyff. After achieving so much with Barcelona and PSG, his move to Inter Miami added another dimension to his illustrious career, reflecting his enduring skill and influence in global football.
A Year of Outstanding Strikers
In a year dominated by extraordinary strikers, the Ballon d'Or ceremony acknowledged more than just Messi's achievements. Erling Haaland of Manchester City showcased immense talent, scoring an astounding 52 goals, which played a significant role in City's Treble win in the 2022-23 season. Similarly, Kylian Mbappe of PSG, who managed a World Cup hat-trick, cemented his place as one of the finest forwards, finishing third in the Ballon d'Or rankings.
Celebrating Women in Football
Barcelona's Aitana Bonmatí not only took home the Ballon d'Or Féminin but also led Spain to its first-ever Women's World Cup victory. Her commendable contributions both at the club and international levels were evident as she helped Barcelona clinch both the Liga F and the Champions League titles. Additionally, England's Mary Earps earned recognition, finishing fifth in voting, after being awarded the Golden Glove at the World Cup.
Lionel Messi's illustrious journey, marked by his eighth Ballon d'Or win, is a reflection of his enduring legacy in football. His success with Argentina in the World Cup and consistent performances with Inter Miami CF underline his unparalleled prowess on the field. As the world celebrates this historic achievement, football enthusiasts eagerly anticipate the next chapter in Messi's captivating story.
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