Argentine footballer Lionel Messi claimed the eighth Ballon d’Or title to further expand his silverware cabinet in October this year. The legendary forward beats the likes of Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland to the most prestigious individual award in the football world.
Messi won his previous seven awards while playing club football in Europe but moved to USA’s Major League Soccer side Inter Miami in the summer window. Both Haaland and Mbappe have been terrific in 2023 but failed to end Messi’s sensational dominance in the award’s history.
Many fans and football pundits questioned Messi’s triumph for the award in 2023 and the integrity of the title. The 36-year-old has been excellent in 2023 on both club and national levels but many believe that the legend has passed his best and claims his Ballon d’Or glory in October was unfair to other in-form stars.
The former Real Madrid and Netherlands star Wesley Sneijder further fuels the talk as he claimed that he deserved to win the award in 2010. Messi beat his then-Barcelona teammates Xavi and Andres Iniesta to clinch the 2010 Ballon d’Or award after getting his hands on the silverware for the first time in 2009.
Sneijder joined Inter Milan in 2009-10 after spending two seasons with Real Madrid and was in sensational form with Netherlands in international competitions as well. The veteran playmaker won the treble with Inter and also played a big role in Netherlands’ road to the FIFA World Cup 2010 final. But Sneijder finished fourth in the voting after Barcelona’s in-form trio and feels ‘unfair’ for not winning the coveted gold.
“It was a little unfair that I didn’t win the 2010 Ballon d’Or and Messi did,” Sneijder told Egyptian channel Alhayah TV. “But, I’m not a guy who cries about that. The Ballon d’Or is an individual award, and I prefer to win collective trophies. If I had to choose between the Champions League and the Ballon d’Or, I would choose the Champions League I won, I’m very happy with that title.”
Meanwhile, Messi also won the Ballon d’Or in 2011 and 2012 to register eight awards, three more than former Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo.
Latest Sports News