Lionel Messi is the 2023 Ballon d’Or winner

Lionel Messi is the 2023 Ballon d'Or winner.
Lionel Messi is the 2023 Ballon d’Or winner.

The winner of the 2023 Ballon d’Or is Lionel Messi, who is taking home the trophy for a record-breaking eighth time.

The Inter Miami forward defeated opponents including Kylian Mbappe, Kevin De Bruyne, and Erling Haaland to repeat as the best player in world football, despite being one of the early favourites to win the France Football award.

Messi’s greatest accomplishment during the 2022–2023 season—the one allotted for those who were in the running—was leading Argentina to World Cup victory in late 2022 in Qatar, bringing an end to La Albiceleste’s 36–year drought for their third international title.

In spite of then-PSG teammate Kylian Mbappe’s incredible hat-trick, Argentina defeated France to win the trophy on penalties at Lusail Iconic Stadium. The former Barcelona player scored in every round from the group stage until the final.

At the club level, the 26-year-old helped Paris Saint-Germain win the French championship with 16 goals in Ligue 1. After his two-year contract with PSG expired in June, he moved to Major League Soccer and joined Inter Miami, helping the team win its first major trophy, the Leagues Cup.

Messi won the trophy in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019 and 2021 before his victory this year. His longtime adversary Cristiano Ronaldo, who was left off of this year’s shortlist, is now three golden balls behind him.

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