Messi's unparalleled achievement can be gauged by the fact that he has now been named in the top three for this prestigious award on a record 14 occasions, finishing as the runner-up on five separate instances. 

His dominance in football remains unshaken, and he continues to set new benchmarks that may be insurmountable for generations to come.

In a post-award media interaction, Messi was asked whether he considers himself the most outstanding player in history. 

The humble and legendary 36-year-old responded, "Well, as always, I don't know if I'm the best, if I am or not, and it's not something that I ask myself or that I'm interested in. But the fact that maybe in the future it will be said that I can be among the best, as they say, is a gift for me. It's something very special. Football is played by everyone, everywhere. From a very young age, every kid wants to be a footballer, to be a professional, and for them to tell me that I can be among the best, for me, it is an honor, a great pride, and that’s it."

Messi with his seven Ballon d'Ors

A tough battle for supremacy

Messi faced stiff competition from Erling Haaland and the electrifying Kylian Mbappe in the race for the prestigious Ballon d'Or. However, the Argentine maestro's remarkable achievements, especially in the past year, helped him secure the coveted award. 

In 2022, Messi played a pivotal role in leading Argentina to a historic victory in the FIFA World Cup held in Qatar. In a thrilling final clash against France, Messi displayed his football wizardry, scoring seven goals throughout the tournament and ultimately being named the best player of the World Cup.

Messi dedicated his achievement to the late Argentine superstar Maradona

Lionel Messi took a moment to dedicate his eighth Ballon d'Or award to the late, great Diego Maradona, an iconic figure in the world of football. 

Monday marked what would have been Maradona's 63rd birthday, and Messi's heartfelt gesture paid tribute to the enduring legacy of Argentina's all-time football legend.

In a parallel celebration of excellence, Spain's World Cup-winning star Aitana Bonmati was honoured with the women's Ballon d'Or award, an acknowledgement of her remarkable achievements on the grand football stage. 

The prestigious awards ceremony, held at the Chatelet Theatre in Paris, was a testament to the exceptional talent and dedication of football's finest.

Cover image: MLS/X

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