Lionel Messi is set to win record-extending 8th Ballon d'Or this year, claims report
According to a report in Spanish media Sport, Argentina's World Cup 2022-winning captain Lionel Messi is 'set to win' a record-extending eighth Ballon d'Or trophy this year when the event takes place on October 30.
Argentina's 2022 World Cup-winning captain Lionel Messi is poised to secure his eighth Ballon d'Or later this month, according to a report in Spanish daily Sport. This remarkable achievement would make the Inter Miami star the first player playing outside of Europe's top football leagues to claim this prestigious award. If Messi bags his eight Ballon d'Or trophy he will extend his record as the most decorated recipient of the award. It will also mark his triumphant return to the accolade after former Real Madrid superstar and Al-Ittihad striker Karim Benzema won it in 2022.
Messi has been the frontrunner for the award, thanks to his pivotal role as the captain of the victorious Argentina team at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Following his World Cup victory, the 26-year-old made a significant career move, transitioning from the European football scene to MLS, where he joined David Beckham's Inter Miami during the summer transfer window.
Messi's presence had a transformative impact on Inter Miami's fortunes, leading the team from the bottom of the pack to clinch their first-ever Leagues Cup title. The club also reached the final of the US Open Cup, although they faced defeat against Houston Dynamo FC as Messi was unavailable due to injury.
In the women's category, the report claims Aitana Bonmati will secure the Ballon d'Or. She played a crucial role in Spain's impressive Women's World Cup 2023 victory in Australia. Bonmati was honoured as the Player of the Tournament after Spain's triumph over England in the final, and she also claimed the UEFA Women's Player of the Year award in September.
If Aitana Bonmati wins this year's Ballon d'Or she will follow in the footsteps of her Barcelona teammate and compatriot, Alexia Putellas, who received the prestigious award last year.
The Ballon d’Or ceremony will take place in Paris on October 30.