The FIFA World Cup-winning Argentina legend Lionel Messi was crowned with the prestigious Ballon d’Or award for the eighth time in his decorated career on October 30, an award that serves as a reminder of his brilliance as he reaches the final moments of his career.
The 36-year-old is now three Ballons d’Or titles ahead of his Portuguese rival Cristiano Ronaldo, who won the last of his five trophies in 2017.
Messi has now also finished among the top three a record 14 times in total, finishing runner-up on five instances.
With this award, Messi became the first player from Major League Soccer (MLS) to win the prestigious award. He represents the club Inter Miami.
The young lad hailing from Santa Fe, who graced the stage for the first time in 2004, has embarked on a career that can only be likened to an extraordinary tale.
Messi’s career which spans across two decades, saw him heartbroken in 2014 after missing out on the World Cup and eight years later channelling the inner Maradona and redeeming himself by bringing the most prized possession – the World Cup trophy back to his homeland, Argentina.
His seven goals in the tournament raised a glimmer of hope in the hearts of each of his fans who dreamed of lifting him the World Cup trophy after Argentina lost unexpectedly to Saudi Arabia.
Messi who conquered France in the World Cup final later went on to become Ligue 1’s leading assist provider for French Giants Paris Saint Germain.
The Argentinian maestro won the Laureus Award for best male athlete of 2022 ahead of class athletes such as Rafael Nadal, Kylian Mbappe and Stephen Curry.
It was the second time Messi, won a Laureus considered a sports Oscar – after securing it for the first time in 2020, an award he then shared with British Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton.
Messi previously won the Ballon d’Or award in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019 and 2021.
This time, he was presented with the award by none other than English football icon David Beckham, the owner of Inter Miami. The grand ceremony was attended by many notable names from the world of football.
(Inputs from ANI)