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OPINION: 2023 Ballon d’Or

A soccer ball sitting on a soccer field.

In a thrilling ceremony held at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris, France, soccer’s most prestigious, individual award, the Ballon d’Or, found a familiar home this year. This event is a celebration of the sports, finest talents and showcases the remarkable achievements of the soccer elites. The 2023 Ballon d’Or recipient, Lionel Messi, emerged as the superstar of the night, claiming the covenant title for the eighth time in his career.

Lionel Messi, who has consistently been a force to be reckoned with on the pitch, had an exceptional season, dazzling fans, and critics alike when he won the 2022 World Cup for his home nation, Argentina. The 36-year-old center forward was able to secure the only trophy he didn’t have in his cabinet, the prestigious World Cup.

In 55 games across all domestic competitions, Messi scored 32 goals and had 25 assists. The 36 year-old helped Paris Saint-Germain to a League 1 title in France in 2022-23 and helped Inter Miami win their first trophy in club history, Leagues Cup.

The former Barcelona star topped the voting ahead of Manchester City striker Erling Haaland and Messi’s former PSG teammate, Kylian Mbappe.

In addition to the Ballon d’Or, several other awards were presented during the evening, including the best young player of the year (Jude Bellingham), top goal scorer of the year (Erling Haaland), goalkeeper of the year (Emiliano Martinez) and the FIFA Fair Play award (Vinicius Junior), highlighting the diverse talents and contributions within the world of football.

The 2023 women’s Ballon d’Or found a new home with Aitana Bonmati winning her first ever Ballon D’or award. Bonmati is the second Spanish player to win the Ballon d’Or Féminin, which was introduced back in 2018. Bonmati’s Barça teammate Alexia Putellas won the award back-to-back in 2021 and 2022.

Aitana Bonmati is the first player to win the Women’s World Cup Golden Ball, UEFA Women’s Player of the Year and the Women’s Ballon d’Or. In her seven appearances in the 2023 Women’s World Cup held in Australia and New Zealand, Bonmatí had a total of three goals and two assists.

The 2023 Ballon d’Or ceremony was a testament to the global appeal of the sport, with fans from different corners of the world turning in to celebrate football’s greatest talents. It was a night filled with glitz, glamor and a palpable sense of unity among soccer enthusiasts.

As the curtains closed on this memorable evening, Lionel Messi etched his name into soccer history as the winner for 2023 Ballon d’Or, adding yet another illustrious chapter to his remarkable career. Fans around the world now eagerly await 2024s footballing spectacles, knowing that the beautiful game will continue to produce unforgettable moments and extraordinary talents for years to come.

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Collyn Cowles
Collyn Cowles, Sports editor

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