Fri, 22 Sep 2023

Lionel Messi wins Ballon dOr for the seventh time
30 Nov 2021, 07:14 GMT+10

Lionel Messi has extended his own record by winning the most prestigious individual prize in football, the Ballon d'Or, for a seventh time.

Suited Messi attended the gala, held at the Chatelet Theater in Paris, with his wife, Antonella Roccuzzo, and their three children.

The hot pre-ceremony favorite thanked his relatives immediately after taking to the stage to receive the honor in front of a star-studded auditorium featuring many of his rivals and team-mates.

Messi was then asked to press a button which appeared to light up the Eiffel Tower, with footage duly appearing of the landmark shimmering in an apparent symbolic celebration of his victory.

The family would not have had far to travel after Messi stunningly joined Paris Saint-Germain in August, leaving Barcelona, where he had spent his entire career, because the club could not meet wage restriction requirements imposed in Spain.

Weeks after turning 33, Messi captained Argentina to a long-awaited first trophy in his company, finishing as the top scorer and the player of the tournament after their 1-0 win over Brazil in the Copa America final in July.

The lethal striker scored 41 goals and provided 17 assists, helping one of the poorest Barcelona sides in modern times to challenge for the Liga title until late last season and win the Copa del Rey.

That included finishing as top scorer in the Spanish top flight, seven goals ahead of fellow Ballon d'Or nominee Karim Benzema and nine ahead of former team-mate Luis Suarez, who won the league with Atletico Madrid.

He is yet to hit his scintillating top form on a regular basis for Paris, only scoring his first Ligue 1 goal in his sixth appearance, but he has been prolific in this season's Champions League and provided all three assists as PSG won 3-1 at St-Etienne a day before the ceremony.

Messi retains the title he won in 2019 - the award was canceled last year - after first lifting it in 2012.

Poland and Bayern Munich goal machine Robert Lewandowski's remarkable haul of 64 goals in the calendar year was not enough for the runner-up to edge out Messi.

Chelsea midfielders N'Golo Kante and Jorginho finished fifth and third respectively, either side of Real Madrid and France hotshot Benzema.

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