Messi wins eighth Ballon d’Or as Osimhen emerges highest-placed African

Argentina forward Lionel Messi has won the Ballon d’Or for a record-extending eighth time.

Messi, now at Inter Miami, led his country to World Cup glory last year as he lifted the trophy for the first time and won the Golden Ball award for the best player of the tournament in Qatar.

The 36-year-old reclaimed the Ballon d’Or from France’s Karim Benzema to add to his wins in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019 and 2021.

Messi’s World Cup win confirms his status as the greatest

The former Barcelona forward’s victory increases his lead over five-time winner Cristiano Ronaldo. The 38-year-old Portugal international, who plays for Saudi Arabian side Al Nassr, was not on the shortlist for the first time since 2003.

Messi left European football at the end of last season as he moved from Paris Saint-Germain, where he won the Ligue 1 title in both seasons, to join MLS team Inter Miami.

Messi claimed the 2023 Ballon d’Or in Paris ahead of Manchester City striker Erling Haaland, who scored 52 goals last season to help City land the treble, with PSG and France forward Kylian Mbappe, just the second man to score a World Cup hat-trick, finishing third.

Haaland did not leave the Ballon d’Or ceremony empty-handed after landing the Gerd Muller Trophy for his record-breaking goal haul last season.

Meanwhile, his team Man City were named the men’s club of the year for a second year running after winning the Treble.

Super Eagles striker Victor Osimhen finished eighth in the awards, emerging the eighth-highest placed African player.

Other African players in the top 30 are Egypt’s Mohammed Salah (11), Morocco’s Yasine Bounou (13) and Cameroon’s Andre Onana (23).

Meanwhile Super Falcons striker Asisat Oshoala was placed 20th in the women’s edition which was won by her Barcelona teammate Aitana Bonmati

Barcelona Femini were also named the female club of the year after winning the 2022/23 Champions League.

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