Lionel Messi, the Argentina team’s leader, secured the highly sought-after Ballon d’Or by outshining Erling Haaland, the accomplished player from Manchester City and Norway who won the treble and the UEFA Player of the Year.
This marks Messi’s astounding eighth victory in the competition. Playing for Inter Miami and previously clinching the trophy in 2021, Messi played a crucial role in Argentina’s triumph over France in last year’s World Cup final, ending a 36-year championship drought for his country. Following his triumphant run, where he triumphed over Cristiano Ronaldo in 2017 to secure the last three Ballon d’Or awards, the 36-year-old now holds a three-title lead over Ronaldo. With five second-place finishes to his name, Messi has now been in the top three a record 14 times in total.
“I couldn’t have envisioned the career I’ve had, with all the accomplishments and the privilege of playing for the world’s best and historically greatest team. Winning individual awards, like the Ballon d’Or, and securing victories in the Copa America and the World Cup is truly incredible,” expressed Messi. He went on to say, “Each of these Ballon d’Or awards holds a special place for different reasons. I’m delighted to receive this recognition, which reflects what we’ve achieved as a national team.” Regarding the 2026 World Cup and his future, Messi commented, “I don’t dwell on that. I’m taking my career one day at a time. First, we have the Copa America in the United States in 2024. The World Cup isn’t something I’m currently thinking about.”
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