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Messi Ballon d’Or wins – Would 2023 be the biggest? – There are just four weeks to go until the 2023 Ballon d’Or. Lionel Messi has won more editions of this award than any other footballer in the history of the game, and although the man himself insists he isn’t motivated by personal accolades, he is once again the favourite to pick up the award this year.
Last winter, Lionel Messi achieved his career goal when he won the World Cup with Argentina. During the tournament, Messi scored seven goals and provided three assists to teammates, before taking home the Golden Ball award.
If he does win the Ballon d’Or as expected, then it may well go down as the best of the lot for several reasons. But how would it compare to his seven previous Ballon d’Or awards?
Messi Ballon d’Or wins – Ranked
- 1 Messi Ballon d’Or wins – Ranked
- 2 The best yet to come?
Ahead of the 2023 ceremony, let’s take a look at all of his previous wins, ordered in terms of how significant or well-earned they were.
#7 – A win against the odds (2019)
Messi’s 2019 Ballon d’Or victory was his narrowest win ever with the Argentinian receiving just seven more voting points than Virgil van Dijk.
Many felt that Messi didn’t deserve the award after his Barcelona side capitulated in the Champions League semi-finals against van Dijk and Liverpool. Ultimately, though, impressive tallies of 51 goals and 22 assists justified his victory.
#6 – A controversial victory (2010)
Historically, Ballon d’Ors in World Cup years are dictated by whoever performs best at the World Cup – see Luka Modric in 2018. However, in 2010, Messi defied the odds by picking up his second consecutive Ballon d’Or despite Argentina losing 4-0 to Germany in the World Cup quarter-finals.
For Barcelona, Messi played a key role in Guardiola’s men racking up 99 points in La Liga, however, they crashed out in the Champions League quarter-finals to Jose Mourinho’s Inter Milan. Despite all the arguments for the likes of Wesley Sneijder and Andres Iniesta, Messi’s 47 goals and 12 assists earned him the award.
#5 – Victory in Paris (2021)
Messi’s latest triumph came in 2021 shortly after his transfer to PSG. Although he started life slowly in the French capital, his form for Barcelona over the 2020/21 season earned him his seventh Ballon d’Or. At the age of 33, Messi still managed to put up 38 goals and 14 assists in his final season at the Camp Nou.
#4 – Viva Barcelona! (2015)
After losing out in 2013 and 2014 to Cristiano Ronaldo, Messi 5-3 in the Ballon d’Or stakes when he won the award in 2015. The 2014/15 season was another stellar season for Barcelona and resulted in Messi winning his fourth Champions League title – this time alongside Neymar and Luis Suarez in a devastating forward line.
#3 – A title won in Rome (2009)
In 2007/08, Messi lost out on the Ballon d’Or to Cristiano Ronaldo when Manchester United won the Premier League and Champions League double. A year later, Messi and Barcelona went one better by winning the treble, defeating Ronaldo and United in the Champions League final in Rome.
Messi netted 38 goals over the course of the season, with his looping header over Edwin van der Sar at the Stadio Olimpico rubber-stamping his Ballon d’Or triumph.
Lionel Messi on his favourite goal:
“The one in Rome in the Champions League final against Manchester United.” pic.twitter.com/7hFE4EX3wa
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) October 13, 2019
#2 – Entering the GOAT conversation (2011)
It was during 2010/11 that Lionel Messi truly started to be recognised as one of the greatest players to ever play the game. Messi scored an incredible 53 goals and provided 17 assists in a season that culminated in the most complete Champions League final performance of all time at Wembley against Manchester United.
#1 – Record breaker (2012)
From a team perspective, 2011/12 was a poor one for Barcelona. They lost out on the league title to Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid and they were knocked out of the Champions League by Chelsea. Despite all of that, no one could have argued with Messi picking up a record 4th consecutive Ballon d’Or due to the numbers involved.
Over the calendar year, Messi broke Gerd Muller’s goalscoring record by netting an unbelievable 91 goals in 69 appearances. If that wasn’t crazy enough, he also chipped in with 22 assists.
Messi doing this while scoring 91 goals in a calendar year is even crazier than the goal record itself. pic.twitter.com/79BwPWCqLq
— MC (@CrewsMat10) August 12, 2023
The best yet to come?
If Messi is to win the 2023 Ballon d’Or then it would go down as his most remarkable. Many people wrote him off after his move to PSG, but he put in a World Cup showing for the ages in Qatar which reminded everyone why he is widely regarded as football’s greatest of all time.
It would also be the first time that an MLS player has picked up the prestigious award.
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