Following his record-extending 8th Ballon d’Or win, Lionel Messi managed to tactfully sidestep the age-old debate about who the best player in the world is. This year’s award was once again captured by the Argentine, with his closest contender being Erling Haaland, though Messi’s victory had been anticipated for weeks, making him the clear favorite.
The presentation of the prestigious trophy was a special moment, as it was handed to Messi by none other than David Beckham, who played a role in Messi’s transfer from Paris Saint-Germain to Inter Miami.
In the wake of his remarkable achievement, the 36-year-old football legend offered some insightful remarks but artfully maneuvered around the ongoing rivalry question regarding his long-time competitor, Cristiano Ronaldo.
These two superstars have been vying for the title of the best player for over a decade, with Cristiano securing the Ballon d’Or five times, the last of which was in 2017.
When asked whether he believed himself to be the best player in the world, Messi chose to respond diplomatically during his conversation with L’Équipe:
Many fans perceive Messi’s recent World Cup victory, which marked the first for Argentina since 1986, as a means of “completing football.” Shortly after receiving the accolade, Messi acknowledged that each of his Ballon d’Or victories had a unique significance.