“I want to express my gratitude to Robert for the opportunity to compete with him,” Messi said as he accepted his award.
“You are deserving of the Ballon d’Or. Everyone thought you were the winner last year. I believe France Football should award you the Ballon d’Or, and you should accept it because you have earned it.
“I’m hoping France Football will be able to deliver it to you so you may display it in your home, because you were the rightful winner.” It must be kept in your home.”
Messi won the Copa America with Argentina in 2021, his first international trophy, as well as the Copa del Rey with Barcelona and being named LaLiga Santander’s top scorer.
“It’s fantastic to be back here,” Messi stated.
“I declared two years ago that these were my final years and that I didn’t know what would happen, and now I’m back.
“They started asking when I was going to retire after that, and today I am in Paris. I’m quite delighted and excited, and I’m looking forward to taking on new tasks.
“I’m not sure how much time I have left, but I’m hoping it’s a lot because I really enjoy this. I’ve won this award before, and I’ve always felt like something was missing.
“I was devastated about something, and this year, after much struggle and many falls, I was able to realize the dream that I had battled so hard for.
“This trophy is largely due to our [Argentina’s] performance at the Copa America.”
Despite missing out on the Ballon d’Or, Lewandowski was named the first winner of France Football’s Striker of the Year award. The Yashin Trophy went to Gianluigi Donnarumma, while the Kopa Trophy went to Barcelona’s Pedri.
The winner of the Women’s Ballon d’Or was Barcelona Femeni star Alexia Putellas, who had a fantastic season for the Catalan giants.
Lionel Messi was quick to thank his family, teammates, and everyone close to him after winning the Ballon d’Or for the seventh time, as well as his supporters around the world for their support. He hasn’t been in the best of form since joining PSG, but his contribution to Argentina’s Copa America victory is thought to have pushed him ahead of Lewandowski.