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Inter Miami's Lionel Messi wins record 8th Ballon d'Or

Inter Miami's Lionel Messi wins record 8th Ballon d'Or
Inter Miami's Lionel Messi wins record 8th Ballon d'Or 01:30

MIAMI -  Inter Miami's Lionel Messi won a record-extending eighth Ballon d'Or on Monday. The annual soccer awards celebrate the best players in the game.

Messi, 36, who won his first Ballon d'Or in 2009, picked up this year's award in Paris after captaining Argentina's victorious World Cup campaign at the end of last year, the biggest title of the Inter Miami star's career to date.

The former Barcelona star topped the voting ahead of Manchester City striker Erling Haaland and Messi's former Paris Saint-Germain teammate, Kylian Mbappé.

"I never imagined having the career that I've had. I've had the luck, thank God, to have achieved all my goals, to have achieved everything in football which is very difficult," said Messi after receiving his Ballon d'Or from Inter Miami co-owner and former England great David Beckham.  

"I've had a lot of difficult moments, above all with the Argentina national team … where things didn't go well for me. And I'll say it again, I never dropped my arms, I kept on fighting to be able to achieve the Copa América [in 2021], to win the World Cup and I'm very proud to have not been stuck in simply trying and having been able to achieve it."

Messi also made mention of a fellow Argentine great, Diego Maradona, who died in 2020 and is revered in Argentina as a soccer icon and hero.

"I want to do a final mention to Diego [Maradona]. Today is his birthday," Messi said, "So, I don't think there's a better place to wish him a happy birthday than surrounded by players, coaches, by people who love football like he did, so wherever you are, happy birthday, Diego. This [award] is also for you, I share it with you and with all of Argentina."

Beckham presented the award to Messi. He promised a party in Miami.

Inter Miami congratulated Messi on its social media platforms: 

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