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BALLON D’OR 2023 RECAP – LIONEL MESSI AND AITANA BONMATI PICK UP THE TOP AWARDS

Lionel Messi secured a record-breaking eighth Ballon d'Or on Monday, while Aitana Bonmatí, a standout player for Barcelona and Spain, took home the Ballon d'Or Féminin.

The annual football awards honour the finest players in both the men's and women's divisions.

Messi, who first won the Ballon d'Or in 2009, accepted this year's honour in Paris following his captaincy of Argentina during the World Cup, which ended in victory. It was the biggest prize of the Inter Miami star's career to date.

LIONEL MESSI AND AITANA BONMATI PICK UP THE TOP AWARDS

The former Barcelona player won the most votes, surpassing both Messi's former Paris Saint-Germain teammate Kylian Mbappé and Manchester City striker Erling Haaland.

“I never thought I would have the career I do. Thank God, I've had the good fortune to accomplish all of my ambitions and everything in football, which is really challenging,” Messi remarked after Inter Miami co-owner and legendary English player David Beckham presented him with the Ballon d'Or.

After talking about his trophy-filled time with Barça, Messi said, “I had the luck, as Aitana said before, to have been on the best team in the world, the best team in history, which makes everything easier to win more titles, which leads to individual prizes.”

Messi then discussed his struggles with Argentina, where the star has had many ups and downs, including a brief thought of retiring from the international game after the Albiceleste's heartbreaking loss to penalties in the 2016 Copa A.

“I've experienced many trying times, most notably when I was a member of the Argentina national team and things didn't work out for me. I'll say it again: I never gave up, and I never stopped striving to win the World Cup and the Copa América [in 2021]. I'm glad that I didn't give up and that I was able to accomplish my goals.

Messi also mentioned Diego Maradona, another legendary Argentinean who passed away in 2020 and is still regarded as a football icon and hero in his native country.

I would like to wish Diego [Maradona] one last shout-out. “I don't think there's a better place to wish him a happy birthday than to be among players, coaches, and people who love football like he did,” Messi said. “Happy birthday, Diego, wherever you are.” I give you this prize as well, together with the entirety of Argentina.

A key player in Spain's victory in the Women's World Cup two months ago, Bonmat won the Golden Ball for best player in Australia and New Zealand in 2023 in addition to her three goals and two assists. She also assisted Barcelona Femení in winning two titles in the Women's Champions League and Liga F last June, as the Blaugranas defeated Wolfsburg to win their eighth Liga F championship.

“To be awarded the Ballon d'Or tonight makes me very proud. Football is a collective, team sport, so even if it's an individual medal, I'd like to share it with my coworkers, Barça employees, and the national team since it's obvious that without the titles won this year, none of this would be possible.

After receiving her prize from 24-time tennis grand slam singles champion Novak Djokovic, Bonmatí commented, “I wouldn't be here.”

Having not slept for a few days, I'm feeling a little anxious. Despite my modest nature, it is a dream come true for me to be here at the largest football gala in the world. Being here is very unique.

“I'm fortunate enough to play for both the national team and a fantastic team like FC Barcelona. I have the best teammates by my side in both locations, and they help me improve every day.

The Ballon d'Or Féminin was instituted in 2018, and the midfielder is the second Spanish player to win it; the first was her Barça teammate Alexia Putellas, who won it twice, in 2021 and 2022.

Sam Kerr, a renowned striker for Chelsea and Australia, and Salma Paralluelo, Bonmatí's juvenile teammate from Barcelona and La Roja, trailed him in the voting.

France Football compiles the lists of nominations, and then a global panel of journalists casts votes to choose the winners.

Randy Osei Akoto

A content creator, writer, blogger and digital marketer currently the Editor and writer at 2Rvisionnews.com. Believes in hard work and keeps up with latest trending stories making rounds across the globe in all aspects, from politics, sports, entertainment, health, business etc.

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8 months ago

[…] After leading Argentina to the World Cup last year, Lionel Messi of Inter Miami CF beat Erling Haaland of Manchester City to win the Ballon d’Or for a record eighth time. […]

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