Lionel Messi has been officially announced as the winner of the 2023 Ballon d’Or, beating competition from his closest challenger, Erling Haaland.
The Argentine was highly favoured to win after leading Argentina to the 2022 FIFA World Cup title in Qatar and for his role in Paris Saint-Germain’s back-to-back Ligue 1 titles.
Messi’s closest challenger was Manchester City’s striker Erling Haaland, who came second and won the Gerd Muller trophy – awarded to the year’s best striker.
Lionel Messi arrived at the Ballon d’Or venue with his wife, Antonella Roccuzzo and his sons. Photo from @ballondor. Source: Twitter
The latter trophy was unveiled in 2021 and was first presented to Robert Lewandowski that year – also the previous time the Inter Miami star won the prize awarded by France Football.
Wholesome moment Lionel Messi bragged to his eldest son about winning 7 Ballon d’Ors: Video
Beckham announces Messi as Ballon d’Or winner
Chelsea legend and event host, Didier Drogba announced David Beckham to present the award to Messi.
The Ivorian also had the honour of calling on Luis Suarez to present the award to the Argentine for his seventh award in 2021.
It is the Argentine’s eighth gong, a record-extending number, having previously held the record for the most since winning his sixth in 2019 and his seventh in 2021.
The only player who comes close to Messi is Cristiano Ronaldo, who won the award five times. The Portuguese star was not nominated for this year’s prize.
Messi arrives with his family
The Argentina captain arrived at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris, France, for the ceremony in the company of his wife, Antonella Roccuzzo and his kids – Thiago, Mateo and Ciro – similar to their arrival in 2021.
He had a front-row seat reserved for him in the company of his national teammates, Inter Miami striker Lautaro Martinez and Manchester City forward Julian Alvarez.
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5 reasons Messi beat Haaland
Sports Brief reported 5 reasons Messi beat Haaland to Ballon d’Or after the Inter Miami captain was officially confirmed as the winner at the Gala in Paris, France.
The former Barcelona captain won the only trophy eluding his career, the FIFA World Cup and was Argentina’s main man, turning up in the big games, amongst other reasons.
Haaland admires Messi’s dribbling
Sports Brief also reported on Haaland wanting one attribute in Messi ahead of their showdown for the coveted Ballon d’Or later next month.
The Manchester City star was asked to name any player and pick one attribute in them, and it was gracious for him to pick Messi and name his dribbling as one attribute he wanted.R
Ronaldo settles GOAT debate
Sports Brief also reported on Ronaldo settling the GOAT debate with Messi after declaring the rivalry between him and the Argentine over at a Portugal press conference weeks ago —it lasted 15 years.
Football is awaiting its next generation of superstars to compete at the top level for the years to come. Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland are strong contenders as the Manchester City forward prepares to battle for the 2023 Ballon d’Or with Messi.