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The Spectator

The student news site of Lake Forest Academy

The Spectator

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Lionel Messi wins the Ballon d’Or again

Photo by @leomessi on Instagram
Lionel Messi shows his custom made Ballon d’Or rings.

Lionel Messi’s move to the US with Inter Miami was seen as the biggest news in the soccer world until now. A couple of weeks ago, Lionel Messi collected his eighth Ballon d’Or after a very successful 2023 with Paris Saint-Germain, the Argentinian National Team, and now with Inter Miami FC.

Most people agree that Lionel Messi is one of the best soccer players of all time. He has received honors and recognitions such as the FIFA World Player of the Year title in 2009, a record six European Golden Boots, and a record seven Ballon d’Or titles (receiving his eighth in 2023). Along with his many individual awards, as part of the teams he has played for, he has won four UEFA Champions League titles, seven Copa del Rey trophies, and ten La Liga titles with FC Barcelona.

Messi was a clear favorite to win the Ballon d’Or award due to his outstanding performance during the 2023 season, which ended in his winning performance with Argentina at the FIFA World Cup. His accomplishments this year had a great influence on football fans across the world. Messi led a very strong Argentinian national team to a FIFA World Cup victory in December over France, solidifying him as the best player of all time. Messi’s leadership, determination, and inspirational play were big in Argentina’s victory. His six goals throughout the tournament showcased his ability to deliver on the biggest stage.

Although Messi was very successful, this award was somewhat controversial as many believed Norwegian soccer player Erling Haaland deserved it more. Haaland is a young player playing for Manchester City in the Premier League. Sy Rosenblatt ‘25 disagreed with Messi’s win of the Ballon d’Or explaining, “Haaland won the Treble with Manchester City and broke the single-season scoring record [in the Premier League]. His performance this year was incredible.” Haaland led the Premier League this year with 36 goals which broke the single season record. Haaland was the leader of a Manchester City team that completed the football treble winning the Premier League Title, and FA Cup, along with the UEFA Champions League. Compared to Messi, Haaland had over 35 more goals than Messi and 2 more trophies in the year. Many people believe that due to these statistics, Haaland deserved the award, but others believe Messi’s World Cup success propelled him to victory. In talking about how this award affected Messi’s legacy, Rosenblatt said,  “I do think [Messi] is the best of all time, but this Ballon d’Or didn’t change his legacy at all.”

Many insane records and stats have been held by Lionel Messi; however, the debate over his 8th Ballon d’Or and his status as the “Greatest of All Time” is still up for debate.

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