On Monday evening in Paris, Lionel Messi clinched the Ballon d’Or 2023 for the eighth time, setting an absolute record. It’s a well-deserved recognition for the ‘Pulga,’ who added another star to his constellation of achievements by winning the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
The much-anticipated 2023 Ballon d’Or winners have been revealed, and the glitzy ceremony in Paris on October 30th was nothing short of spectacular. Notably, the event featured a thrilling performance by Nigeria’s sensational artist Rema, who had the audience in awe with his hit song “Calm Down,” all while rubbing shoulders with the biggest football stars seated in the front rows.
During the 2022 World Cup, the 36-year-old Messi shone by scoring a double in the final, placing him at the top of the podium ahead of Norway’s Erling Haaland and France’s Kylian Mbappé.
Messi, who had previously won the Ballon d’Or in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019 (with FC Barcelona), and in 2021 (with PSG), thus added another impressive line to his already illustrious career. In 2021 and 2022, he reached the pinnacle by winning the Copa America and now the ultimate achievement in world football.
However, his young competitors, aged 23 and 24, had their own merits. Erling Haaland, who scored 52 goals in 53 matches during his first year in England, played a pivotal role in delivering Manchester City’s first Champions League, as well as the Premier League and the FA Cup, completing a remarkable treble.
As for Kylian Mbappé, the runner-up in the World Cup with the French national team, he finished as the top scorer of the tournament with eight goals, just ahead of Messi. He also showcased his brilliance by scoring a magnificent hat-trick in the World Cup final. Despite both being French champions with PSG, Mbappé and Messi, unfortunately, fell short in the Champions League.