Messi wins Ballon d’Or for seventh time

Messi baloon

Lionel Messi admitted
winning the Copa America with Argentina might have been the determining factor
in him claiming the men’s Ballon d’Or prize for the seventh time after a
turbulent year, as Spain’s Alexia Putellas took the women’s award.

Now 34, Messi pipped much-fancied rivals like Robert
Lewandowski and Karim Benzema to take the award in a glittering ceremony on
Monday in Paris, the city he now calls home after leaving boyhood club
Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain in August.

Despite his tearful goodbye from Barcelona and his relatively underwhelming start to life in France, the jury of journalists from around the world rewarded him in particular for captaining Argentina to their first major international title since 1993.

“Two years ago I thought I was coming into my final
years but here I am again back here,” said Messi, who won the last edition
of the Ballon d’Or in 2019 before last year’s awards were cancelled due to the

Messi also won in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and in 2015.

“People were starting to ask me when I was going to
retire but now I am here in Paris and I am very happy,” he said at the
Chatelet Theatre in central Paris, where he was joined by his wife Antonella
Roccuzzo and their three children.

“I don’t know how many more years I have left but I
hope there will be many because I am really enjoying myself this year.

“What I achieved with Argentina was a dream come true.
I think I won this trophy thanks to what we did at the Copa America, so I
dedicate it to my teammates.”

Argentina beat Brazil 1-0 in the final in Rio de Janeiro as
Messi won a major title with his country for the first time. He also scored 38
goals in 48 games in his final season with Barcelona and won the Copa del Rey.

Lewandowski second

However Messi has played just 11 times and scored four goals
for PSG since joining the French club and there was a feeling that this year
might see a different winner.

Poland striker Lewandowski would have been a shoe-in in
2020, when he scored 45 goals in 37 games for Bayern, only for the awards to be

He ended last season with a remarkable 41 Bundesliga goals
but had to settle for second place in the voting for the Ballon d’Or, which is
organised by France Football magazine and voted for by a panel of journalists
from around the world.

Lewandowski instead was given a consolation prize for the
year’s best goal-scorer and received glowing praise from Messi.

“I wanted to say to Robert that it was an honour to go
up against him. He deserved to win it last year,” Messi said.

Midfielder Jorginho, who won the Champions League with
Chelsea and Euro 2020 with Italy, came third, followed by Real Madrid’s Karim
Benzema and another Chelsea player, N’Golo Kante.

Five-time winner Cristiano Ronaldo came sixth. He was absent
from the ceremony.

Between them, Messi and Ronaldo have won 12 of the last 13
editions of the Ballon d’Or with the exception coming in 2018 when Luka Modric
claimed the prize.

Putellas succeeds

This is just the third year that a women’s Ballon d’Or has
been awarded, with Putellas following in the footsteps of Norway’s Ada
Hegerberg, winner in 2018, and the United States’ 2019 World Cup superstar
Megan Rapinoe.

Spain international Putellas, 27, captained Barcelona to
victory in this year’s Champions League, scoring a penalty in the final as her
side hammered Chelsea 4-0.

She also won a Spanish league and cup double with Barca, the
club she joined as a teenager in 2012 and who are fast becoming the dominant
force in the women’s game.

Her Barcelona and Spain teammate Jennifer Hermoso was
second, with Sam Kerr of Chelsea and Australia coming in third.

“I am sure I won’t be the last Barcelona player to win
the prize. This is just the beginning,” said Putellas, who in August was
named player of the year by European football’s governing body UEFA.

Author: desi123 is an online news portal that aims to provide the latest trendy news for Asians living in Asia and around the World.

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