Lionel Messi has won the Ballon d’Or for a record seventh time to cap off a year in which he finally won his first international trophy with Argentina.
Messi beat off competition from the likes of Bayern Munich forward Robert Lewandowski and Chelsea midfielder Jorginho, who finished second and third respectively, while Chelsea were named Club of the Year after their Champions League win.
The Argentine has established himself as one of the greatest players of all time – the greatest of them all for some – thanks to everything he has achieved across his career. Most of his success came with Barcelona across a lengthy spell there.
But international success evaded him until earlier this year when he helped Argentina win the Copa America. He was named the player of the tournament after also sharing the golden boot for his four goals.
It brightened up a difficult final season of his Barcelona career, which ended with a third-place finish in La Liga. Still, on an individual level, he managed to contribute 38 goals across all competitions.
— Ballon d’Or #ballondor (@francefootball) November 29, 2021
Over the summer, he ended up leaving Barca on a free transfer to join Paris Saint-Germain. He has four goals from nine appearances for his new club so far.
With his seventh Ballon d’Or crown, Messi has extended his lead over Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo (who has won it five times) in the race to finish their careers with the highest number of prizes.
Speaking afterwards, Messi said: “I’m really proud to win the France Football Ballon d’Or once again.
“It’s incredible to win it for the seventh time. I would like to thank my family, my friends and all the people who follow me and always support me, because without them I couldn’t have done it.”
Lionel Messi beats Lewandowski, Jorginho to prize
The runner-up was Lewandowksi, who was also named Striker of the Year, while Blues star Jorginho was third.
In terms of other Premier League stars, N’Golo Kante finished fifth, Ronaldo was sixth, Mo Salah seventh and Kevin de Bruyne eighth. England skipper Harry Kane was down in 23rd.
Lewandowski, who many felt would have won the award in 2020 had it not been cancelled, scored 48 goals from just 40 games last season, including 41 goals in the Bundesliga. That was a league record for a single season.
Jorginho won trophies with club and country, lifting the Champions League with Chelsea and Euro 2020 with Italy.
Meanwhile, the winner of the Yashin Trophy for best goalkeeper was given to PSG and Italy stopper Gianluigi Donnarumma.
Barcelona midfielder Pedri won the Kopa Trophy for the best player under the age of 21.
The women’s Ballon d’Or was won by Barcelona and Spain midfielder Alexia Putellas.