Lionel Messi plays down GOAT label after winning eighth Ballon d'or

Lionel Messi posts for the first time since Ballon d’Or success to dedicate his eighth title to Argentina staff and players, insisting he would not have won it without World Cup success… as humble superstar plays down being labelled the GOAT

  • The 36-year-old won the Ballon d’Or on his idol Diego Maradona’s 63rd birthday
  • Erling Haaland and IShowSpeed cross paths at the Ballon d’Or ceremony in Paris 
  • Listen to the latest episode of Mail Sport’s podcast ‘It’s All Kicking Off!’ 

Lionel Messi has posted on social media for the first time since his Ballon d’Or success as he humbly played down being labelled the greatest of all time.  

The Argentinian legend won his record-breaking eighth Ballon d’Or last night after a glittering season. 

The superstar led his country to World Cup glory for the first time in his career as well as winning the Ligue 1 with Paris Saint-Germain. 

He fended off Manchester City striker Erling Haaland and former PSG team-mate Kylian Mbappe who finished second and third respectively. 

Asked whether he was the best football player in history at the ceremony, the 36-year-old replied: ‘As I always said, I do not know if I am the best player in history or not.

Inter Miami’s Lionel Messi won his record-breaking eighth Ballon d’Or yesterday evening

Man City’s Erling Haaland scored 52 goals last season but still missed out on the top ranking

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‘If I am one of the best, then this is a wonderful thing.’

Messi also wrote on his Instagram: ‘I only have words of gratitude for all the people around the world who supported me so much during my career and to whom I want to specially dedicate this award, along with my family who was always by my side.

‘This is a Ballon d’Or that I also want to share with my fellow, technical body, the employees… Because without the World Cup we achieved together it would have been impossible to win it. Congratulations to all the winners and many thanks!’

Now at MLS side Inter Miami, the club’s co-owner David Beckham presented Messi with his Ballon d’Or award.

Upon accepting it he wished the late Argentine legend Diego Maradona, who died in 2020 following a fatal heart attack, a happy birthday during his acceptance speech.

Being as Maradona was perhaps the most iconic soccer player born in Argentina besides Messi, it did not escape the 36-yeard-old’s attention that he won the award on his idol’s 63rd birthday.

‘Wherever you are, this is also for you. Happy birthday, Diego,’ said Messi before he received a heartwarming applause from the crowd.

Messi was joined on the stage by his wife Antonela and their three sons Thiago, Mateo, and Ciro as he accepted the award.

Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe finished in third place in the Ballon d’Or rankings


It’s All Kicking Off is an exciting new podcast from Mail Sport that promises a different take on Premier League football.

It is available on MailOnline, Mail+, YouTube, Apple Music and Spotify.

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