Lionel Messi has strengthened his reputation as one of the world’s greatest ever footballers by collecting a record seventh Ballon d’Or.
But the Argentine’s historic feat was overshadowed by his long-time rival Cristiano Ronaldo – himself a recipient of five awards – who branded one of the event’s organisers a ‘liar’ hours before the ceremony in Paris.
Messi dashed the hopes of Robert Lewandowski, who came runner-up, and the 14 Premier League-based nominees to retain the honour he last won in 2019. Messi said: “It’s incredible to be here again. Two years ago I thought it was the last time. Winning the Copa America was key.”
“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.”