Paris was alive with excitement and anticipation on a particular night at the Théâtre du Chatelet. Football enthusiasts from around the world had their eyes glued to this iconic event as they eagerly waited for the crowning moment.
Lionel Messi, the football sensation from Argentina, added another jewel to his crown as he lifted his eighth Ballon d’Or trophy. This victory wasn’t just another win for Messi; it marked his record-extending triumph in this prestigious arena.
Taking a trip down memory lane, Messi led Argentina to a monumental victory at the World Cup. This was Argentina’s first World Cup win since 1986, a victory that generations of fans had been yearning for. The finale saw La Albiceleste battle it out fiercely with France, ultimately emerging victorious in a nail-biting penalty shootout. Messi’s performance was, unsurprisingly, a critical factor in this achievement, earning him the coveted Golden Ball.
Before settling in Miami, Messi showcased his skills and magic with Paris Saint-Germain. Under his leadership, the team clinched the French title. And then, in August, the magic of Messi helped his new team, Inter Miami, to their debut title by securing the Leagues Cup.
Reflecting on his glorious journey, Messi remarked:
“I couldn’t imagine having the career that I’ve had. Everything that I’ve achieved. The fortune I’ve had playing for the best team in the world, the best team in history. It’s nice to win these individual trophies. To win the Copa America and then the World Cup, to get it done is amazing.” – Lionel Messi
The Stars of Tomorrow
While Messi stole the limelight with his historic eighth win, the evening had its share of up-and-coming stars making their mark. Erling Haaland from Manchester City, known for his incredible knack for finding the back of the net, secured the second spot. With an astounding 52 goals in a single season, he is undeniably one of the promising future legends of the sport. Not far behind, Paris Saint-Germain’s prodigy, Kylian Mbappé, completed the top three. Last year’s victor, Karim Benzema, however, found himself in the 16th spot this year.
Aitana Bonmati: The Rising Star of Women’s Football
On the women’s side, a new queen was crowned. Aitana Bonmati from Spain made her grand entry into the Ballon d’Or hall of fame. At just 25, she’s achieved what many dream of their entire lives. Bonmati’s leadership was instrumental in leading Spain to their very first World Cup title. She also grabbed the Golden Ball for her outstanding performance during the tournament held in Australia and New Zealand.
Her successes don’t stop there. As a midfielder for FC Barcelona, she played a pivotal role in the club securing both La Liga and their second Champions League title. For these feats, she was honored with the UEFA Player of the Season award in August.
Expressing her gratitude, Bonmati shared:
“I’m very proud to win this Ballon d’Or tonight. It’s an individual prize but football is a team sport, so I’d like to extend this prize to my teammates and staff at Barcelona, and my international teammates as well. I wouldn’t be here without them.” – Aitana Bonmati
The Ballon d’Or 2023: A Quick Glance at the Awardees
The night was filled with honors, accolades, and moments to remember. Here’s a concise breakdown of the evening’s notable award winners:
|Club/Team & Country
|Inter Miami, Argentina
|Ballon d’Or Feminin
|FC Barcelona Femení, Spain
|Kopa Trophy (Best U-21 male player)
|Real Madrid, England
|Yachine Trophy (Best male goalkeeper)
|Astona Villa, Argentina
|Gerd Müller Trophy (Top male striker)
|Manchester City, Norway
|Sócrates Award (Humanitarian work)
|Real Madrid, Brazil
|Club of the Year
|Manchester City and FC Barcelona Femení
The Ballon d’Or, an institution since its inception by the French news magazine, France Football, in 1956, continues to recognize and celebrate the finest talents in football. The 2023 edition, with its mix of legendary achievements and new faces, has set the stage for an exciting future in the world of football.