Lionel Messi of Paris Saint-Germain and Argentina won the Ballon d’Or – presented to the year’s greatest player – for a record seventh time.
Messi, 34, assisted Argentina in winning the Copa America, his first international honor, and scored 40 goals in 2021 – 28 for Barcelona, four for Paris Saint-Germain, and eight for Argentina.
Robert Lewandowski of Bayern Munich and Poland finished second, Jorginho of Chelsea and Italy finished third, and Karim Benzema of Real Madrid finished fourth.
“It’s incredible to be here again,” he said at the ceremony, held at Paris’s Theatre du Chatelet.
“Two years ago I thought it was the last time. People were starting to ask me when I was going to retire but now I’m here in Paris and very happy.
“It’s a special year for me with this Copa America title. It meant a lot to win [1-0 against Brazil in the final] at the Maracana stadium and I was so happy to celebrate with the people from Argentina.
“I don’t know if it’s the best year of my life – I’ve had a long career – but it was a special one with the title with Argentina after the tough times and the criticism.”
Ballon d’Or results
- Lionel Messi (Paris St-Germain/Argentina, forward)
- Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich/Poland, forward)
- Jorginho (Chelsea/Italy, midfielder)
- Karim Benzema (Real Madrid/France, forward)
- N’Golo Kante (Chelsea/France, midfielder)
- Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United/Portugal, forward)
- Mohamed Salah (Liverpool/Egypt, forward)
- Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City/Belgium, midfielder)
- Kylian Mbappe (Paris St-Germain/France, forward)
- Gianluigi Donnarumma (Paris St-Germain/Italy, goalkeeper)