The Argentinian star won his eighth Ballon d'Or in 15 years at a gala where he singled out Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappé as his successors

Messi is infinite and unrepeatable

PHOTO/FRANCK FIFE/AFP - El delantero argentino del Inter de Miami CF Lionel Messi recibe su 8º Balón de Oro durante la ceremonia de entrega del Balón de Oro de Fútbol de Francia 2023 en el Theatre du Chatelet de París el 30 de octubre de 2023
PHOTO/FRANCK FIFE/AFP - Inter Miami CF's Argentine striker Lionel Messi receives his 8th Ballon d'Or during the France 2023 Ballon d'Or Football Award Ceremony at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris on October 30, 2023

Leo Messi is the greatest of the greats. Lionel Andrés Messi Cuccitini, for many the greatest player to ever step on a football pitch, lifted his eighth Ballon d'Or trophy in Paris. At the age of 36 and in the twilight of his career, Messi has shown that he still has the magic in his boots that for 15 years has conquered the hearts of millions of fans of the beautiful game. Champion of everything Messi renewed the title he won in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019, 2021 and now in 2023. 

PHOTO/ARCHIVO - Champion of everything Messi renewed the title he already won in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019, 2021 and now in 2023

Only him. Only he was the one who could overthrow the perfect machine, the "cyborg", who landed last summer in Manchester. Only he could alter the course of the football world. Only he, thanks to his performance in the World Cups, a performance that will go down in the annals of history, was able to snatch any achievement from the team named best team of the year: Manchester City. Only he was the one who won the vote over the two new benchmarks of football: Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappé. Two names to whom the Argentine star predicted a great future.

"I don't want to leave without talking about Haaland, Mbappé... they had a spectacular year. Especially Haaland. I have no doubt that they will win this award. We see a lot of young players here, I'm already somewhere else, but we're going to enjoy football for a long time. The players are being renewed, but the level never drops. We will continue to enjoy it for many more years," said Messi in his speech after receiving the award for best player in the world. 

PHOTO/AFP - Lionel Messi celebra con sus compañeros argentinos la victoria en el Mundial de Qatar
PHOTO/AFP - Lionel Messi celebrates with his Argentina teammates after winning the World Cup in Qatar

Whenever Messi is considered a candidate to win the Ballon d'Or he has rarely failed. The Argentine won the Ballon d'Or for the eighth time, and it looks like it will be the last, setting a record that no player in history has achieved, which seems almost like a dream or rather a fantasy for anyone who dares to try to beat it, proof of which is that Messi at the age of Haaland and Mbappé already held 2 and 3 awards respectively. 


The Norwegian player's coach Pep Guardiola - who coached Messi for 4 years at FC Barcelona - repeatedly responded to the question of who should win the Ballon d'Or. "I have always said there should be two divisions, one for Messi and one for the rest. Messi's worst season, I insist, Messi's worst season will always be the best season for the rest of the players."

Aitana Bonmatí keeps Spanish football on top 

PHOTO/FRANCK FIFE/AFP - Aitana Bonmati, centrocampista española del FC Barcelona, recibe el Balón de Oro Femenino durante la ceremonia de entrega del Balón de Oro de Fútbol de Francia 2023 en el Theatre du Chatelet de París el 30 de octubre de 2023
PHOTO/FRANCK FIFE/AFP - FC Barcelona's Spanish midfielder Aitana Bonmati receives the Women's Ballon d'Or during the France 2023 Ballon d'Or award ceremony at the Théâtre du Chatelet in Paris on 30 October 2023

The FC Barcelona and Spain midfielder, heir to the throne of Alexia Putellas who won the award in the last two editions, won everything a female footballer can win.  "I am very proud to win the Ballon d'Or tonight. It has been a great year on a sporting level. Football is a collective sport, so I would like to thank all my teammates and my club. Without all those people, I wouldn't be here," she said after receiving the award.

"They are all great players and inspirational. As players, our responsibility goes beyond the field of play, we have to be more than sportswomen and keep fighting for a peaceful and equal world for all," she concluded. Other Spanish players who were nominated were Olga Carmona and Patri Guijarro. Both have come very close to winning the women's Ballon d'Or. In addition, there was also more representation from our country such as Salma Paralluelo, Alba Redondo or Mapi León. This undoubtedly marks an upward trend in Spanish football.


The parade of stars took place again at the Châtelet Theatre, located on the banks of the Seine, not far from the Louvre and overlooking the city's island with views of Notre Dame Cathedral. As it has been for many years, the Ballon d'Or, which is awarded to the best player of the year, is now a big party with more prizes and therefore more participants. The winners of the other awards were: Manchester City as men's team of the year, Erling Haaland with the Gerd Müller trophy, Emiliano Martínez with the Lev Yashin trophy, FC Barcelona women's team of the year, Vinicius Júnior with the Sócrates trophy, and Jude Bellingham with the Kopa trophy. 

Among all the values that sport concentrates on, respect has always been one of the most important. For the magazine L'Equipe this did not go unnoticed and awarded Vinicius Jr with the Socrates trophy for his tireless fight against racism by confronting the problem with the single-minded aim of eradicating it from the football field. Gala co-host and former footballer Didier Drogba supported Vinicius' cause by calling on governments and club owners to be more effective in fighting "one of the scourges of football". 

PHOTO/ARCHIVO - Vinicius Jr el día que paró un partido de fútbol contra el Valencia CF tras recibir insultos racistas de parte de la granda ché
PHOTO/ARCHIVO - Vinicius Jr on the day he stopped a football match against Valencia CF after receiving racist insults from the 'ché' fans

Minutes before receiving the trophy, his teammate Jude Bellingham received the Kopa award for best young player (under 21), thus keeping the award for the third consecutive year in the Spanish league, which was undoubtedly the most successful competition of the night, winning four of the seven awards handed out at the gala of football stars. 

PHOTO/AFP/LLUIS GENE - El centrocampista inglés del Real Madrid Jude Bellingham celebra el segundo gol de su equipo durante el partido de fútbol de la Liga española entre el FC Barcelona y el Real Madrid CF en el Estadi Olímpic Lluis Companys de Barcelona el 28 de octubre de 2023
PHOTO/AFP/LLUIS GENE - Real Madrid's English midfielder Jude Bellingham celebrates scoring his team's second goal during the Spanish La Liga football match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid CF at the Estadi Olímpic Lluis Companys in Barcelona on October 28, 2023

This tribute to the king of kings should not end without remembering the player with the most character, the most "potrero" player, the player who elevated football to another level in Argentina, and, who knows, if the person we should thank for inspiring so many people, among them Messi, Diego Armando Maradona. 

"I want to mention Diego. Today is his birthday and I think there is no better place than to wish him a happy birthday. Here, with people who love football. This is also for you Diego, I share it with you and with all of Argentina".