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Lionel Messi is rejoicing after being declared the winner of the Ballon d’Or for the eighth time, further solidifying his record as the world’s top player.
After joining MLS’s Inter Miami, many believed the 36-year-old would easily secure another golden prize, especially after Argentina’s victory in the World Cup in Qatar last year.
Aitana Bonmati took over from Alexia Putellas as the recipient of the Ballon d’Or Feminin, the top honor for women’s soccer. She played a crucial role for Spain in their victory at the Women’s World Cup and was a standout player for Barcelona during their remarkable 2022/23 season, culminating in a comeback win in the Champions League final.
One English player, Jude Bellingham, received the Kopa Trophy, awarded to the top young player in the world. Previous recipients include Kylian Mbappe in 2018 and Barcelona’s Gavi in the most recent ceremony.
Vinicius Jr received the Socrates award for his charitable contributions, topping the list of extra accolades for the evening.
Given the opportunity by co-host Didier Drogba to deliver a powerful statement, he emphasized the significance of unity and combating racism in football. He expressed gratitude towards the fellow players who support the cause. Drogba reassured Vinicius, who has recently faced racist attacks during a LaLiga game in Spain, that he is not fighting alone in the fight against discriminatory behavior in the sport.
The award for the top goalkeeper, known as the Yashin Trophy, was given to Argentina’s Emiliano Martinez, who plays for Aston Villa and was also a member of the winning team in the World Cup in Qatar. He was chosen above other contenders such as Morocco’s Yassine Bounou and Manchester City’s Ederson.
The Club of the Year accolade was given to FC Barcelona for their women’s team, Barcelona Femini, for their accomplishments during the previous season in winning both the domestic league and the Champions League. Manchester City received the men’s award for achieving a treble in the 2022/23 season.
Erling Haaland was awarded the Gerd Muller Trophy for top scorer with a total of 56 goals for both his club and country, narrowly beating out Kylian Mbappe.
Among the many nominees for the top honors, Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah was placed 11th, England’s captain Harry Kane was ranked 19th, and Arsenal’s rising star Bukayo Saka came in at 24th. Messi emerged victorious over Haaland and Kylian Mbappe in the final standings.
For the Feminine award, Mary Earps achieved the highest ranking among the Lionesses, coming in at fifth place overall. Rachel Daly placed tenth, while captain Millie Bright was one spot behind. The second and third spots for the women’s category were taken by Sam Kerr and Salma Paralluelo, respectively.