Lionel Messi is celebrating after being named Ballon d’Or winner for the eighth time, extending his own record for being named the planet’s best player.
Now with Inter Miami in MLS, the 36-year-old had been seen as overwhelming favourite to claim another golden prize following Argentina’s World Cup win in Qatar at the end of last year.
Aitana Bonmati succeeded Alexia Putellas as winner of the women’s award, the Ballon d’Or Feminin. The midfielder starred for Spain during the Women’s World Cup win, as well as playing a key part in Barcelona’s incredible 2022/23 season which included a Champions League final comeback win.
England did have one representative picking up an award, as Jude Bellingham picked up the first trophy of the night - the Kopa Trophy, handed out to the best young player on the planet. Previous winners include Kylian Mbappe in 2018, the inaugral year, and Barcelona’s Gavi last time out.
Heading up the list of additional awards on the night, Vinicius Jr picked up the Socrates award for humanitarian efforts.
Offered the platform by co-host Didier Drogba to send a “strong message”, he said it remained “important to be together and fight racism” in football. “I would like to thank all the great players here who help us to fight.” Drogba insisted Vinicius, who has again recently suffered alleged racist abuse during a LaLiga match in Spain, is not alone in the battle to eradicate behaviour and from the sport.
The Yashin Trophy for the best goalkeeper went to Argentina and Aston Villa’s Emiliano Martinez, also a World Cup winner in Qatar. He beat off competition from Morocco’s Yassine Bounou and Man City goalkeeper Ederson, among others.
Meanwhile, the Club of the Year award went to FC Barcelona for the women’s team, Barcelona Femini, and their achievements last season in doing a domestic league and Champions League double. Man City won the men’s award after claiming a treble in 2022/23.
Erling Haaland’s 56 goals for club and country landed him the Gerd Muller Trophy for top scorer, just ahead of Kylian Mbappe.
In the wider list of nominees for the main awards, Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah ranked 11th, England captain Harry Kane 19th and Arsenal starlet Bukayo Saka came in 24th. Messi beat Haaland and Kylian Mbappe on the final podium.
For the Feminin award, Mary Earps came highest among the Lionesses, placing fifth overall. Rachel Daly was tenth and captain Millie Bright was one place further back. Second and third for the women’s were Sam Kerr and Salma Paralluelo respectively.