Major League Soccer star Lionel Messi has become the first player based in the league to grab the coveted Ballon d'Or trophy. The Inter Miami CF star beat out Manchester City striker ErlingHaaland to win the prize for a record eighth time.
The 36-year-old MLS-based player led the way for Argentina in the World Cup in 2022, which played a large part in his win this time.
Barcelona player Aitana Bonmatí won the Ballon d'Or Féminin award for a record-setting year, leading Barca to win Liga F and the Champions League.
Even before his latest win, no player had garnered the Ballon d'Or prize in more instances than Messi, who was first awarded the trophy in 2009, before winning it again in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019 and 2021, ESPN reported.
Messi accepted this week's win saying he would like to share the prize with his national teammates "for what we were able to achieve." He said, "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."
Messi said, "To be able to win the World Cup and really achieve my dream — to share this with all those who were involved."
Messi congratulated his competitors in the prize, saying, "Hats off to Kylian (Mbappe), Erling, Kevin — you guys are very young, you've achieved so much already. So, plenty of time left."
The prize ceremony was held on Monday in Paris.
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