Lionel Messi wins eighth ballon d’Or; Jude Bellingham takes Kopa trophy

Lionel Messi, the Argentine and Inter Miami forward, has clinched his eighth Men’s Ballon d’Or at a ceremony held in Paris. Messi’s outstanding performances, particularly his role in helping Argentina secure the World Cup in Qatar last year, earned him this prestigious award.

Jude Bellingham, the talented English midfielder plying his trade with Real Madrid, won the Kopa Trophy, recognizing him as the world’s best player aged under 21.

Messi secured this record-extending Ballon d’Or honor ahead of Erling Haaland, the forward from Manchester City.

The third position went to France forward Kylian Mbappe, known for his remarkable feat of scoring a World Cup final hat-trick, despite France’s 4-2 penalty shootout loss to Argentina.

During the event, Messi expressed his gratitude, stating, “It’s nice to be here once more to enjoy this moment,” and added, “To be able to win the World Cup and achieve my dream.”

Reflecting on his illustrious career, he shared, “I couldn’t imagine having the career I’ve had and everything I’ve achieved, the fortune I’ve had to be part of the best team in history,” and concluded, “All of them [Ballon d’Or awards] are special for different reasons.”

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