Lionel Messi, who led the Argentine national team to the World Cup title last year, won the Ballon d’Or for the best player of the year, awarded by France Football magazine, for the eighth time in his career.
The 36-year-old superstar of Inter Miami – who was already a record holder in the history of the award – said at the award ceremony in Paris on Monday that this is also the success of the Argentine national team. In his speech, Messi also remembered his compatriot Diego Maradona, who died in 2020 and who would have celebrated his 63rd birthday on this day. The South American attacker beat the Norwegian Erling Haaland (Manchester City) and the French Kylian Mbappé (Paris Saint-Germain) in the voting, during which the decision was made based on the performance of the season, not the calendar year.
The women’s Ballon d’Or awarded for the fifth time went to Aitana Bonmatí, who plays for FC Barcelona. The Spanish footballer also won the world championship title with her country’s national team this year.
The award for the best under-21 footballer, the Kopa trophy – which was voted for by previous Ballon d’Or winners – was won by Englishman Jude Bellingham, who strengthens Real Madrid. Awarded for the fourth time, the Jasin Award for the best goalkeeper was earned by Emiliano Martínez, the netminder of the Argentine national team and Aston Villa. The Gerd Müller trophy for the best striker went to Haaland, who scored 56 goals, and whose team, the treble-scoring, English champion and FA Cup winner, as well as Manchester City, which won the first Champions League triumph in its history, was named team of the year, just like last year.
The Sócrates Award, named after the outstanding Brazilian soccer player of the 70s and 80s, awarded to a footballer particularly active in social and charity projects, went to Vinicius Junior, the Brazilian forward of Real Madrid.
Since 2016, France Football has been awarding the Ballon d’Or to the best player of the year again, not in cooperation with FIFA, but traditionally between 1956 and 2009, i.e. independently – this year was the 67th time.
The final result of the Ballon d’Or voting (the players’ current team is shown):
1. Lionel Messi (argentin, Inter Miami)
2. Erling Haaland (norvég, Manchester City)
3. Kylian Mbappé (francia, Paris Saint-Germain)
4. Kevin De Bruyne (belga, Manchester City)
5. Rodri (spanyol, Manchester City)
6. Vinicius Junior (brazil, Real Madrid)
7. Julián Álvarez (argentin, Manchester City)
8. Victor Osimhen (nigériai, Napoli)
9. Bernardo Silva (portugál, Manchester City)
10. Luka Modric (horvát, Real Madrid)