Lionel Messi Wins Record Seventh Ballon d’Or Crown

Lionel Messi has won the Ballon d’Or for the best footballer of the year for a record seventh time.

The Paris St-Germain and Argentina forward was player of the tournament as Argentina won the Copa America, his first international honour, and has scored 40 goals in 2021 – 28 for Barcelona, four for Paris St-Germain and eight for Argentina.

Bayern Munich and Poland striker Robert Lewandowski came second, Chelsea and Italy midfielder Jorginho was third, Real Madrid’s French striker Karim Benzema finished fourth and Chelsea’s French Midfielder Ngolo Kante was fifth.

The Ballon d’Or, decided by 180 journalists from around the world, resumed this year after the coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of last year’s edition.

Messi’s lastest win resumes a stranglehold on the award which either he or great rival Cristiano Ronaldo won (five times) for every year from 2008 to 2019, apart from in 2018 when Croatia midfielder Luka Modric won it.

Lewandowski, who scored 53 goals in all competitions in 2021 for Bayern, was awarded the ‘Striker of the Year’ prize, a new award that was only announced hours before the ceremony began.

Paris St-Germain’s Gianluigi Donnarumma, who helped Italy win Euro 2020, won the Yashin Trophy for best goalkeeper, while Champions League winners Chelsea were named Club of the Year.

Barcelona midfielder Pedri, 19, won the Kopa Trophy for the best player aged under 21 adding to his Golden Boy gong, with England internationals Jude Bellingham, Mason Greenwood and Bukayo Saka coming second, fifth and sixth respectively.

Meanwhile, Barcelona captain Alexia Putellas won the Women’s Ballon d’Or, for the best female footballer in 2021.

Alexia Putellas

Putellas, 27, scored as Barca beat Chelsea 4-0 to secure their first Champions League crown.

She ended the 2020-21 season as the highest-scoring midfielder in Europe with 26 goals in all competitions and was also named Uefa’s Women’s Player of the Year and Midfielder of the Year.

Team-mate Jennifer Hermoso came second, with Chelsea striker Sam Kerr third.

Ballon d’Or results

  1. Lionel Messi (Paris St-Germain/Argentina, forward)
  2. Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich/Poland, forward)
  3. Jorginho (Chelsea/Italy, midfielder)
  4. Karim Benzema (Real Madrid/France, forward)
  5. N’Golo Kante (Chelsea/France, midfielder)
  6. Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United/Portugal, forward)
  7. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool/Egypt, forward)
  8. Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City/Belgium, midfielder)
  9. Kylian Mbappe (Paris St-Germain/France, forward)
  10. Gianluigi Donnarumma (Paris St-Germain/Italy, goalkeeper)
  11. Erling Braut Haaland (Borussia Dortmund / Norway, forward)
  12. Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea / Belgium, forward)
  13. Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus / Italy, defender)
  14. Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus / Italy, defender)
  15. Raheem Sterling (Manchester City / England, forward)
  16. Neymar (Paris St-Germain / Brazil, forward)
  17. Luis Suarez (Atletico Madrid / Uruguay, forward)
  18. Simon Kjaer (AC Milan / Denmark, defender)
  19. Mason Mount (Chelsea / England, midfielder)
  20. Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City / Algeria, forward)
  21. Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United / Portugal, midfielder), tied with Lautauro Martinez (Inter Milan / Argentina, forward)
  22. Harry Kane (Tottenham / England, forward)
  23. Pedri (Barcelona / Spain, midfielder)
  24. Phil Foden (Manchester City / England, forward)
  25. Nicolo Barella (Inter Milan / Italy, midfielder), tied with Ruben Dias (Manchester City / Portugal, defender) and Gerard Moreno (Villarreal / Spain, forward)
  26. Luka Modric (Real Madrid / Croatia, midfielder), tied with Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea / Spain, defender)