Football News

Lionel Messi wins record-extending eighth Ballon d’Or but predicts it will be his last

By Harry Edwards

Published: 22:04, 30 October 2023

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

Unlike FIFA’s The Best awards, the Ballon d’Or takes into account seasons, which meant that the 2022 men’s World Cup would have a part to play in this year’s trophy rather than last year. The result of the tournament is believed to have skewed the voting slightly in Messi’s favour.

Messi already scooped FIFA’s The Best Men’s Player award for his role in helping Argentina win the World Cup, scoring seven goals including two in the final to lift the trophy. Captaining Argentina, Messi only failed to score in one game at the World Cup, a 2-0 win over Poland in the final game of the group stage.

Messi last won the Ballon d’Or in 2021 and wasn’t even nominated for the award last year, the first shortlist to omit the Argentine since 2005, the season before his breakthrough at Barcelona. He won his first Ballon d’Or in 2009, and would go on to win the next three awards, as the marquee man of Barcelona’s all-conquering team that won two Champions League trophies as well as dominating in Spain.

There was then a three-year break as Cristiano Ronaldo stacked up his own collection as part of a thrilling battle between the Portuguese forward and Messi. Messi picked up his fifth Ballon d’Or in 2015 but then had to wait until 2019 to get number six, again sitting on the side as Ronaldo won another two and Luka Modric temporarily ended their duopoly.

In 2021 Messi returned to the top of the world for his final season at Barcelona, in which he won La Liga and the Pichichi trophy for a record eighth time in his career. And he’s predicting this will be his last:

“Being world champion was fantastic. But the truth is I’ve never really got used to receiving awards and being on the stage like this,” Messi said on receiving his award.

“Slowly I have got used to it a bit more since winning it for the first time in 2009. I think today is the last time I will win it, so it feels calmer and I will enjoy it in a different way.

“I’m proud of the career I’ve had. I’ve enjoyed football all my life and soon I’ll enjoy it from the other side.”

He added: “I don’t know for how much longer I’ll play but I plan to enjoy it. I can’t put a number on it as things can change very quickly from day to day in football. But I know that day is getting closer and closer.”

Men’s 2023 Ballon d’Or final rankings

1. Lionel Messi
2. Erling Haaland
3. Kylian Mbappe
4. Kevin De Bruyne
5. Rodri
6. Vinicius Jr
7. Julian Alvarez
8. Victor Osimhen
9. Bernardo Silva
10. Luka Modric
11. Mohamed Salah
12. Robert Lewandowski
13. Yassine Bounou
14. Ilkay Gundogan
15. Emiliano Martinez
16. Karim Benzema
17. Khvicha Kvaratskhelia
18. Jude Bellingham
19. Harry Kane
20. Lautaro Martinez
21. Antoine Griezmann
22. Kim Min-Jae
23. Andre Onana
24. Bukayo Saka
25. Josko Gvardiol
26. Jamal Musiala
27. Nicolo Barella
28. Randal Kolo Muani
28. Martin Odegaard
30. Ruben Dias

Women’s 2023 Ballon d’Or final rankings

Aitana Bonmati was expected to win the Ballon d’Or Feminin for her role in Barcelona winning the league and Champions League as well as Spain winning the World Cup. The midfielder is widely regarded as the best in the world in her position, despite having been overshadowed by teammate Alexia Putellas in recent years. But Bonmati has been put at the forefront of the Barcelona and Spain team across the past year, also winning the World Cup Golden Ball and UEFA Women’s Player of the Year.

1. Aitana Bonmati
2. Sam Kerr
3. Salma Paralluelo
4. Fridolina Rolfo
5. Mary Earps
6. Olga Carmona
7. Alexandra Popp
8. Patri Guijarro
9. Linda Caicedo
10. Rachel Daly
11. Millie Bright
12. Hinata Miyazawa
13. Lena Oberdorf
14. Kadidiatou Diani
15. Amanda Ilestedt
16. Mapi Leon
17. Hayley Raso
18. Ewa Pajor
19. Guro Reiten
20. Asisat Oshoala
21. Alba Redondo
22. Katie McCabe
23. Georgia Stanway
24. Bunny Shaw
25. Sophia Smith
26. Wendie Renard
27. Yui Hasegawa
28. Debinha
29. Jill Roord
29. Daphne van Domselaar

2023 Kopa Trophy final rankings

The first award of the night was the Kopa Trophy, given to the best player under the age of 21, voted for by a jury of all former Ballon d’Or winners. Kylian Mbappe was the first to win the award, with Matthijs de Ligt, Pedri and Gavi joining him as winners. The latter pair were also nominated this year, but the award went to Jude Bellingham for his season with Borussia Dortmund and England, making him the first from his nation to win the trophy.

1. Jude Bellingham
2. Jamal Musiala
3. Pedri
4. Edouardo Camavinga
5. Gavi
6. Xavi Simons
7. Alex Balde
8. Antonio Silva
9. Rasmus Hojlund
9. Elye Wahi

2023 Yashin Trophy final rankings

Emiliano Martinez was another to gain success at these awards for his role in Argentina winning the World Cup, keeping three clean sheets and performing heroics in two penalty-shootout victories. Martinez joins Alisson, Gianluigi Buffon and Thibaut Courtois as the fourth winner of the Yashin Trophy.

1. Emiliano Martinez
2. Ederson
3. Yassine Bounou
4. Thibaut Courtois
5. Marc-Andre ter Stegen
6. Andre Onana
7. Dominik Livakovic
8. Aaron Ramsdale
9. Mike Maignan
10. Brice Samba

2023 Socrates Award

The Socrates Award is given to a person within the world of football as as an acknowledgement of their humanitarian work. Vinicius Junior won the award this year, for his work with the Vini Jr Institute, helping to bring education access to kids in tough atmospheres in his native Brazil.

2023 Gerd Muller Trophy

Erling Haaland ended Robert Lewandowski’s hold on the Gerd Muller trophy, awarded to the best striker in world football, taking into account goals for both club and country.

1. Erling Haaland
2. Kylian Mbappe
3. Harry Kane
4. Lionel Messi
5. Robert Lewandowski

2023 Men’s Club of the Year

Manchester City retained their crown as Men’s Club of the Year, this time taking the trophy for winning the Treble of the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup.

2023 Women’s Club of the Year

This was the first time the Club of the Year was split into men’s and women’s trophies, with Barcelona picking up the inaugural women’s award. Winning the Women’s Champions League again, Barcelona also claimed La Liga at a canter, continuing their domination of women’s football both domestically and across the continent.