Ballon d’Or 2021 has been announced, with PSG star Lionel Messi picking up his seventh award.
The Argentinian won an international tournament for the first time this year, scooping the Copa America in the summer, as his country beat Brazil in the final of the competition.
Messi also won the 2021 Copa Del Rey with Barcelona before moving to Paris Saint-Germain in the summer in a surprise deal, after almost 20 years of living in Catalonia.
Barca finished third in the league behind both Madrid clubs Real and Atletico. It was a good season for Messi individually, however, with the No 10 scoring 38 goals in all competitions for the club.
His last goal in the Champions League, a long-range screamer, came against his future employers, PSG, when Barca were knocked out of the tournament at the last-16 round.
Messi’s Ballon d’Or means that he is the first PSG player to have ever won the award, following Neymar becoming the first PSG star to get to the podium when he was voted third in 2017.
Jean-Pierre Papin was the last player from Ligue 1 to be crowned Ballon d’Or winner. The Marseille attacker was the 1991 recipient.
Messi first won the award in 2009, following Barcelona’s sextuple. The forward then won the gong for the next three consecutive years, with Barca sweeping first, second and third position in 2010, before Cristiano Ronaldo won 2013 and 2014’s edition.
Messi was back on top in 2015, following Barcelona’s treble and only triumphed again in 2019. His seventh win puts him two ahead of Ronaldo as the most decorated Ballon d’Or winner ever.
Who did Messi beat to the prize
Messi, in the end, held off the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Karim Benzema and Jorginho to secure the title of best men’s footballer in the world.
A shortlist of 30 players was drawn up, with votes cast by football experts across the globe.
France Football, the organisers of the award, presented PSG’s Messi with an unprecedented seventh gong, concluding a year for the forward featuring both his first transfer and his first international silverware, lifting the Copa America with Argentina this summer.
No English player cracked the top 10, with Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling ranked highest, at 15th. Mason Mount finished 19th, Harry Kane at 23rd and Phil Foden 25th.
Premier League footballers N’golo Kante, Kevin De Bruyne, Mohamed Salah and Cristiano Ronaldo have all secured top-10 finishes, though.
Ballon d’Or 2021 full results
29=. Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea)
29=. Luka Modric (Real Madrid)
26=. Gerard Moreno (Villarreal)
26=. Ruben Dias (Manchester City)
26=. Nicolo Barella (Inter Milan)
25. Phil Foden (Manchester City)
24. Pedri (Barcelona)
23. Harry Kane (Tottenham)
21=. Lautaro Martinez (Inter Milan)
21=. Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United)
20. Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City)
19. Mason Mount (Chelsea)
18. Simon Kjaer (AC Milan)
17. Luis Suarez (Atletico Madrid)
16. Neymar (PSG)
15. Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)
14. Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus)
13. Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus)
12. Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea)
11. Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund)
10. Gianluigi Donnarumma (PSG)
9. Kylian Mbappe (PSG)
8. Kevin De Bruyne
7. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
6. Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)
5. N’golo Kante (Chelsea)
4. Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)
3. Jorginho (Chelsea)
2. Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)
1. Lionel Messi (PSG)
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