Lionel Messi has won the Ballon d'Or for the year 2021. This is the 7th Ballon d'Or of his glittering career and he moves further ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo has 5 Ballon d'Or awards to his name.
Messi finished ahead of Robert Lewandowski, who finished the season with an incredible 51 goals and 9 assists in all competitions. The Argentinian didn't do much bad either, scoring 44 goals and providing 14 assists. Messi won the Copa del Rey with Barcelona and the coveted Copa America with his country which probably tipped the scales towards him.
Messi got 613 points, just 33 points more than Lewandowski who got 580 points. Here are the Top 10 players who received the most votes
1. Lionel Messi 613 points
2. Robert Lewandowski 580 points
3. Jorginho 460 points
4. Karim Benzema 239 points
5. N'Golo Kanté 186 points
6. Cristiano Ronaldo 178 points
7. Mohamed Salah 121 points
8. Kevin De Bruyne 73 points
9. Kylian Mbappé 58 points
10. Gianluigi Donnarumma 36 points
Messi gave an emotional speech upon receiving the award.
"It is incredible to be here again. Two years ago I didn't know what could happen and now it's my turn to be here again. Today it's my turn to be in Paris, I'm so happy. I really want to keep fighting for new challenges. I don't know how long I have left, but I hope it will be a long time because I love football.
"I want to thank all my teammates from Barça, PSG and Argentina. I had been missing something and this year it was the opposite. I was able to achieve the dream I wanted so much and this award is for what we did in the Copa América.
Messi with a classic touch for his rival Lewandowski
Messi congratulated Lewandowski for his incredible performances at the end of his speech. He said that the Polish striker should be awarded the Ballon d'Or for the year 2020. The Pole scored 55 times and assisted a further 10 goals in the 2019/20 season and won the treble with Bayern Munich. But he didn't receive the award as the Ballon d'Or was cancelled due to the pandemic.
"It's a special night for me. It's an honour to fight with Lewandowski - you were the winner of last year's Ballon d'Or and France Football should give it to you. You were a fair winner, you should have it at home too."