Lionel Messi is undoubtedly one of the greatest footballers to grace the game and his genius is unlikely to ever be seen again.
As a result, he has collected numerous Ballons d’Or, which represent the highest possible individual achievement.
The Argentine is a Barcelona legend and now plays in the United States for Inter Miami, where he had a brilliant debut.
And after winning his first World Cup with Argentina, Messi has a very good chance of winning another Ballon d’Or later this year.
What is the Ballon d’Or?
The Ballon d’Or or “Golden Ball” is an annual award given to the best footballer in the world for the previous season.
It is organized by France Football and is completely separate from the FIFA prize.
The award was established in 1956 and was initially voted on by football journalists, but from 2007 players from countries in FIFA’s top 100 are given the opportunity to vote.
This is the most prestigious award as it is voted on by professional colleagues and peers.
How many Ballon d’Or trophies has Messi won?
Messi won his first Ballon d’Or in 2009 and followed that up with victories in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
His next was presented to him in 2015, and he also won in 2019 and 2021.
This means he has won seven in total, which is the most in history.
His great rival and competitor, Cristiano Ronaldo, is two out of five behind him.
From 2008 to 2017, the pair shared the award, demonstrating their dominance of elite men’s football.
But Ronaldo hasn’t been in contention in recent years and won’t be this year after his lucrative transfer to Saudi Arabia to play for Al-Nassr.
Most Ballon d’Or winners
1: Lionel Messi (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019, 2021)
2: Cristiano Ronaldo (2008, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017)
3= Michel Platini (1983, 1984, 1985)
3= Yohan Cruyff (1971, 1973, 1974)
3= Marco van Basten (1998, 1989, 1992)
6= Franz Beckenbauer (1972, 1976)
6=Ronaldo (1997, 2002)
6=Alfredo Di Stefano (1957, 1959)
6=Kevin Keegan (1978, 1979)
6= Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (1980, 1981)
Will he win it this year?
The main contender preventing Messi from winning an incredible eighth Ballon d’Or is Manchester City’s goalscoring machine Erling Haaland.
The Norwegian striker scored 52 goals in 53 games as City won the treble, including their first Champions League trophy.
Haaland has scored 36 Premier League goals and netted 12 times in the Champions League, including five in a 7-0 loss to RB Leipzig.
There are other players like Rodri and Kylian Mbappe, but it will probably be between Messi and Haaland.
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