Lionel Messi wins record eighth Ballon d’Or after World Cup glory with Argentina
Cristiano Ronaldo appears to have mocked Lionel Messi’s record-extending eighth Ballon d’Or win on social media. The five-time winner has broken his silence on Messi, who widened the gap between the two on Monday night and, to many, settled their generation’s GOAT debate.
Messi’s eighth Ballon d’Or comes after scoring 21 goals in 41 appearances for Paris Saint-Germain last season and 11 in 14 since joining Inter Miami earlier this year.
He is the first-ever MLS-based player to win the illustrious award and the second-oldest recipient, aged 36 years and four months, behind Stanley Matthews, crowned in 1956, aged 41.
It was Messi’s exploits in Qatar last winter that undoubtedly secured his eighth Ballon d’Or, though, guiding Argentina to the third World Cup after a 36-year wait.
Messi captained his nation to glory in the Middle East, registering seven goals – including two in the final against France – and three assists in what was likely his last chance to deliver a World Cup.
The Player of the Tournament beat Erling Haaland to the prize, which has caused controversy in some corners of the football world.
Haaland fired Manchester City to the treble last season, scoring a staggering 52 goals, but finished second in the voting.
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He received the Gerd Muller Trophy, celebrating the best striker of the year, but many believed the 2023 Ballon d’Or was rightfully his. It’s not the first time Messi’s win has been contentious.
The former Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain forward has previously been named the world’s best player in years where Andres Iniesta, Xavi, and Robert Lewandowski were expected winners.
Journalist Tomas Roncero brought light to that in a summary video for AS’ Instagram account, claiming Messi should, in fact, have five Ballon d’Or awards, the same as Ronaldo.
And Ronaldo – with 14 goals and eight assists in 14 games for Saudi Pro League side Al-Nassr this season – made his feelings clear in the comments, replying with four crying laughter emojis.
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Piers Morgan – a close friend of Ronaldo’s – also took to social media to express his disagreement with Messi’s latest success.
Morgan even claimed that the Real Madrid and Manchester United icon should have more Ballon d’Or trophies to his name than Messi.
“Messi preposterously winning the Ballon d’Or this year is yet more proof that the whole ‘Golden Ball’ system is rigged.
“He should have won 2 fewer, @Cristiano should have won 2 more, and Haaland should have won this year. End,” the broadcaster posted on X (formerly Twitter).
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