Lionel Messi has emerged as the 2021 Ballon d’Or winner.
This is the seventh time Messi is winning the coveted award and his latest feather is coming after leading Argentina to Copa America glory. Messi was the highest goal scorer, highest assist provider and best player in the South American tournament.
Monday’s ceremony saw Robert Lewandowski finish second while Chelsea’s Jorginho settled for third.
“it’s Incredible to be here again,” said Messi. “Two years ago I thought that it was my last year and now I am here again. I am very happy, very excited and wanting to fight for new challenges.”
“I do not know how long I have left but I hope it will be a long time. I want to thank my teammates from Barcelona and PSG, and especially the Argentina team. I won this award and I had the feeling that I was missing something and this year I was able to achieve it.
“A large part of this trophy is because of what we did in the Copa America, so thanks to my teammates, this is also yours. My wife, my children, my father, my mother are here.”
Karim Benzema came home fourth ahead of Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante while Cristiano Ronaldo beat Mohamed Salah and Kevin De Bruyne – who were named sixth, seventh and eighth respectively.
Raheem Sterling finished highest of the four Englishmen up for the award, coming home 15th after Harry Kane landed in a disappointing 23rd place. Mason Mount was 19th with Phil Foden 25th.
In a related development, Barcelona and Spain midfielder Alexia Putellas, won the 2021 Women’s Ballon d’Or.
Putellas was one of five players nominated from the Barcelona team following their first Champions League triumph along with winning the Primera Division title
She was the highest-scoring midfielder in Europe with 26 goals in all competitions last season.
The 27-year-old was also named UEFA’s Women’s Player of the Year and midfielder of the year.
Chelsea FC of England, who won the UEFA Champions League, won the football club of the year at the awards.
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