Lionel Messi, the legendary 34-year-old soccer player of Paris Saint-Germain, won his seventh Ballon d’Or on Monday. Presented by the news magazine France Football every year, the Ballon d’Or is given to the best soccer player of the year.
Since the Ballon d’Or Awards did not take place last year due to the pandemic, Messi has won the trophy a second time consecutively. Messi won the Ballon d’Or for 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019 and now 2021, becoming the soccer player to have won the trophy the most -- two times more than his biggest rival Cristiano Ronaldo.
The 65th Ballon d’Or ceremony took place at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris. Messi attended the ceremony with his wife, Antonela Roccuzzo, and his three sons, Tiago, Matteo and Ciro. He drew attention with his sons for their matching sparkly black tuxedos.
This year’s Ballon d’Or was a close competition between Messi and Robert Lewandowski. Messi scored 613 points in total while the FC Bayern Munich player earned 580. Many experts agree that Lewandowski would likely have won last year’s Ballon d’Or if the ceremony was not canceled due to COVID-19. Although Lewandowski failed to win the Ballon d’Or, he was recognized as striker of the year.
“I think you deserved to win the award last year,” Messi told Lewandowski in his acceptance speech.
“It’s incredible to be here again. Two years ago, I thought it was the last time. Winning the Copa America was the key,” he added.
Copa America was the first international trophy Messi won with Argentina. Although he tried his utmost as a member of the national soccer team, he could not find success in major international events such as the World Cup or European Championship.
Ronaldo, who did not attend the awards ceremony, ranked sixth place in the balloting.
Meanwhile, Barcelona women’s team midfielder Alexia Putellas won the women’s Ballon d’Or.
“It’s great to be here with all of my teammates, since we have lived and experienced so much together, especially in the past year,” remarked Putellas.
By Kim Ye-rin (firstname.lastname@example.org