Argentine football star Lionel Messi has won his seventh Ballon d'Or award Monday and offered it to his national squad teammates with whom he achieved his first major professional title at country level.
I got my biggest award in June, it was the dream I wanted, Messi said upon receiving his prize. I don't know how much I have left but I hope it's a lot, he added.
The Ballon d'Or is a prestigious recognition granted by France Football magazine since 1956. Messi is currently playing club football for Paris Saint Germain so attending the ceremony meant no travel for the star, who was chosen ahead of Poland's Robert Lewandowski, who came in second-, Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo and Italy's Jorginho, who ended up in third place.
Messi had also lifted the award in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2019. There was no 2020 edition due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Rosario-born player has thus become the footballer to win the Ballon d'Or the most times in history. This year's achievement is the first without the Barcelona FC jersey and with a national team medal instead.
During the ceremony, Messi was seen happy and relaxed as pre-recorded congratulations from Sergio Kun Agüero and Uruguayan Luis Suárez were screened.
Two years ago ... they began to ask me when I was going to retire, and today I have to be here in Paris and I am very happy, very excited and eager to keep fighting for new challenges. I don't know how much I
have left but I hope it's a lot because I really enjoy football, I love this and I hope to keep doing it.
Messi also thanked Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni and his national squad teammates for getting rid of the thorn it meant never to have won a title with that team, after reaching the World Cup final in 2014.
I want to thank all my teammates from Barcelona, Paris, the coaching staff and my teammates from the Argentine National Team. Several times I had to win this award and I felt that something was missing, that I had a thorn in my hand Messi explained in his speech.
This time around it was different. I think this award is, in large part, because of what we did in the Copa América, for that I want to thank my teammates... this is theirs too.
Messi then had words of praise for Lewandowski: You deserved it last year, you were the just winner and it couldn't be done because of the pandemic but I think you have to have it in your house too.
Italian keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma had been chosen best goalie keeper in a category where Argentina's Emiliano Dibu Martínez took sixth place.
After leaving the Châtelet Theater, Messi took questions and insisted: I got the biggest prize in June.