Messi wins 8th Ballon d'Or to steer clear of Ronaldo in GOAT musings

FOOTBALL: Messi wins 8th Ballon d'Or to steer clear of Ronaldo in GOAT musings

22:48 - 30.10.2023

Argentine forward was favorite to lift the coveted gong after winning the FIFA World Cup in Qatar 2022.

Argentine cult hero Lionel Messi was a class above a magnificent quartet in the 2022/2023 season and was duly voted the Ballon d'Or winner in a colourful ceremony in Paris on Monday night.

The iconic Inter Miami striker in the twilight of his career was voted the best by 100 journalists from FIFA’s top ranked nations.

He trounced French super star Kylian Mbappe, Norwegian goal machine Erling Haaland and Belgium’s midfield dynamo Kevin Debruyne.

The men’s Ballon D’ior was presented by living legend David Beckham to a standing ovation as host Didier Drogba struggled to hide his admiration.

“Winning the World Cup was fantastic. Playing football feels great and I hope to go on and on without an end," he told the A listers in Paris.

The former PSG and Barcelona great was joined by his wife and three sons for the ceremony and wore a sharp dark suit while his sons donned similar outfits.

Despite not winning big title with his club, Messi edged past the younger pursuers by leading Argentina to a first World Cup title since 1986 when Diego Maradonna led the South American state to the holy grail.

Mbappe, who had a fractious relationship with Messi at PSG sat pensively in the front row of the auditorium but rose and applauded the football icon after Becks read out the winner. 

Manchester City had seven players nominated for the award and five out of ten finalists. Pep Guardiola's side was voted Team of the year with Haaland winning the Puskas Award for scoring an incredible 56 goals last season.

Mbappe settled for second spot. Golden Glove Award, Yassine Award went to Aston Villa and Argentina custodian Emiliano Martinez for his World Cup heroics. Real Madrid duo of Jude Bellingham and Vinicius Junior were also on the podium.

Vinicius Jr was awarded for his outstanding charity work in his native Brazil. The award was presented by Prince Albert of Monaco. Jude Bellingham was voted Young Player of last season.