Lionel Messi has taken home the record-breaking eighth Ballon d'Or after the winner of the 2023 competition was revealed.
After playing for Paris Saint-Germain the previous season, the Inter Miami and Argentina striker led his country to the World Cup in Qatar in December of last year, breaking a 36-year deadlock for the South American nation. The 36-year-old Messi has more wins than anyone else with three.
Lionel Messi, who has won the coveted Ballon d'Or eight times overall, was declared the winner of the 2023 edition on Monday at a ceremony in Paris.
In a league title-winning season for PSG, Messi played 41 matches during the 2022–23 season, scoring 21 goals and providing 20 assists. At the World Cup in Qatar, Messi scored twice in the group stage and was on target in each knockout round, scoring against Australia, the Netherlands, and Croatia, and then in the final. The 36-year-old faced competition from Manchester City's Erling Haaland and former Paris Saint-Germain teammate Kylian Mbappe, as well as 26 other nominees, to win the award.
On stage, he said: "Thank you very much, to share this with my national team-mates for what we were able to achieve with the national team.
"The entire group, the coaching staff, everyone involved. I’m delighted to be here once more to be able to enjoy this moment one more time.
"To be able to win the World Cup and really achieve my dream, to share this with all those who were involved."Fittingly, after his World Cup success, he added: "To finish, I want to say happy birthday to Diego Maradona."
After his contract at PSG ran out in the summer, Messi moved to Inter Miami in MLS on a free transfer and was one of three players nominated for the award who do not currently play in Europe.
The former Barcelona forward spent 17 years with the Spanish club between 2004 and 2021 and also won the award in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019 and 2021.