Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva Tuesday praised Argentine football start Lionel Messi on winning his eighth Ballon d'Or award. Messi should serve as an example to Brazilian players, said Lula on social media.
Whoever wants to win the Ballon d'Or has to be dedicated, has to be professional. It doesn't go with partying, it doesn't go with the night, Lula fired. How many years has it been since Brazil has had a real idol? he went on.
He should be an inspiration for those players who appear on TV and soon disappear because of vanity and because they have no psychological structure to grow up. For those kids who are painted gold, 17-year-olds who are sold [abroad] right away, the head of state also said during an interview.
Messi should serve as an example to Brazilian players. He is 36 years old, a world champion, with a Golden Ball and everything. Messi needs to be an inspiration of dedication for this group. Whoever wants to win the Gold Ball has to be dedicated; has to be a professional. It doesn't mix with partying.
During a ceremony at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, Messi was awarded the 2023 Ballon d'Or, beating Erling Haaland, who finished second, and Kylian Mbappe. He had already won in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019, and 2021.
Messi alone surpasses the number of times it has been won Brazilian players combined: Ronaldo Nazario (1997 and 2002), Rivaldo (1999), Ronaldinho (2005) and Kaká (2007).
Messi dedicated his eighth award to his Argentina National Team teammates and to the people all over the world who have supported me so much during my career.
The Argentine player's emotional speech included a tribute to Diego Armando Maradona, who would have turned 63 on Monday.