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Business News/ Sports / Football News/  Lionel Messi dedicates eighth Ballon d'Or to Diego Maradona: ‘This is for you’
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Lionel Messi dedicates eighth Ballon d'Or to Diego Maradona: ‘This is for you’

Lionel Messi wins his eighth Ballon d'Or and pays tribute to Maradona.

Inter Miami CF's Argentine forward Lionel Messi gestures on stage as he receives his 8th Ballon d'Or award during the 2023 Ballon d'Or France Football award ceremony at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris on October 30, 2023. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP) (FRANCK FIFE / AFP)Premium
Inter Miami CF's Argentine forward Lionel Messi gestures on stage as he receives his 8th Ballon d'Or award during the 2023 Ballon d'Or France Football award ceremony at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris on October 30, 2023. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP) (FRANCK FIFE / AFP)

Lionel Messi clinched his eighth Ballon d'Or on October 30. Staged at the Chatelet Theatre in Paris, Messi emerged victorious over other football luminaries like Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe. 

Making the moment poignant, he commemorated Argentina's late football legend Diego Maradona, who would have turned 63 on the same day. It was David Beckham, co-owner of Inter Miami, who presented Messi with the Ballon d'Or.

"Happy birthday, Diego. This is for you too," AFP quoted him as saying. "This is a gift to the whole Argentina team for what we achieved."

Messi, after winning the World Cup for Argentina in 2022, wished Maradona was alive to see his country become world champions again. It was Maradona who led Argentina to a historic win in the 1986 World Cup.

Also Read: Watch: Messi or Ronaldo? Rahul Gandhi clarifies whom he’d choose if he had a football team

"I would have liked Diego to give me the cup, or at least to see all this, to see Argentina as world champions, with everything he wanted and how he loved the national team. I think from above, he – like a lot of people who love me – were strong," Messi said that time.

Other contenders for Ballon d'Or

Messi faced intense competition, notably from Norwegian striker Erling Haaland and France's Kylian Mbappe. Haaland, with Manchester City, scored 52 goals in 53 games. However, he had to be content with second place in the Ballon d'Or race.

Mbappe, who took the third spot, had his own stellar achievements to show. With eight goals, three of which came in the championship match versus Argentina, the French football player finished as the tournament's top scorer in 2022.

Even while each of these individual performances was remarkable, Messi's whole genius as a player and a leader was greater than their sum.

(With AFP inputs)

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Sounak Mukhopadhyay
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Published: 31 Oct 2023, 09:27 AM IST
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