Lionel Messi beats Robert Lewandowski and Jorginho to 2021 Ballon d’Or while Cristiano Ronaldo fumes at French journalist

Lionel Messi is now a seven-time Ballon d’Or winner as he was once again crowned the world’s best footballer.

The Paris Saint-Germain superstar fought off competition from Jorginho and Robert Lewandowski to collect the prestigious honour – voted for by 180 journalists – at a prize ceremony in Paris on Monday night.

Messi is now a SEVEN-time Ballon d’Or winner


Messi is now a SEVEN-time Ballon d’Or winner

Messi claimed a maiden Copa America title with Argentina earlier this year and was top scorer in LaLiga for the 2020/21 season with 30 goals as Barcelona finished third.

The 34-year-old also helped Barca win the Copa del Rey before moving to PSG in the summer.

He had collected the honour for a record sixth time in 2019 – one ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo – before the awards were cancelled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“It is incredible to be here again,” said Messi, who has more Ballon d’Or wins than any other player.

“Two years ago, I said that it was my last years, and that I didn’t know what was going to happen, and now I am here again.

“After that they began to ask me when I was going to retire and today I am in Paris. I am very happy and very excited, eager to continue fighting for new challenges.

“I don’t know how much I have left, but I hope it’s a lot, because I love this. Other times I won this award and I always had the feeling that something was missing.

“I felt gutted about something, and this year I was able to achieve the dream that I wanted so much after having fought and having gone through many falls.

“This award is largely because of what we (Argentina) did in the Copa America.”

The Argentine brought his family to the glitzy Parisian ceremony


The Argentine brought his family to the glitzy Parisian ceremony

Lewandowski won the inaugural striker of the year award and was second in the voting.

The Poland international, 33, has scored 38 goals in 30 league games for Bayern in 2021, in addition to winning the Bundesliga.

Speaking of Lewandowski, Messi said: “You deserve your Ballon d’Or. Last year everyone agreed that you were the winner. I think France Football should give you your Ballon d’Or. You have to have it in your house.”

Meanwhile, Jorginho finished third after a year in which he helped Italy to glory at the delayed Euro 2020 after lifting the Champions League trophy with Chelsea in May.

Spain midfielder Alexia Putellas took home the women’s Ballon d’Or after winning a league, cup and Champions League treble with Barcelona.

The 27-year-old’s Barca team-mate Jennifer Hermoso was second, with Chelsea forward Sam Kerr third and Arsenal striker Vivianne Miedema fourth.

Barcelona and Spain midfielder Pedri won the Kopa Trophy at Monday’s event, the award presented to the best-performing player under the age of 21.

The 19-year-old was selected immediately ahead of England and Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham, while Manchester United’s Mason Greenwood was fifth and Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka sixth.

Gianluigi Donnarumma of Italy and PSG won the Yashin Trophy as goalkeeper of the year, while Chelsea were crowned club of the year.

Lewandowski missed out on the top honour but was awarded the ‘Striker of the Year’ award


Lewandowski missed out on the top honour but was awarded the ‘Striker of the Year’ award

Putella picked up the women’s top honour


Putella picked up the women’s top honour

There was drama before the ceremony even started, with five-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo voicing his frustrations at a French journalist, who suggested his sole aim of his career was to win more Ballon d’Or trophies than Messi.

Ronaldo did not attend Monday’s event at the Theatre du Chatelet in the French capital but responded to Ferre, the editor of France Football – organisers of the Ballon d’Or, on social media.

“Today’s outcome explains Pascal Ferre’s statements last week, when he said that I confided in him that my only ambition was to finish my career with more Ballon d’Ors than Lionel Messi,” Ronaldo posted on Instagram.

“Pascal Ferre lied, he used my name to promote himself and to promote the publication he works for.

“It is unacceptable that the person responsible for awarding such a prestigious prize could lie in this way, in absolute disrespect for someone who has always respected France Football and the Ballon d’Or.

“The biggest ambition of my career is to win national and international titles for the clubs I represent and for the national team in my country.

“The biggest ambition of my career is to be a good example for all those who are or want to be professional footballers. The biggest ambition of my career is to leave my name written in golden letters in the history of world football.”

Kylian Mbappe was in attendance in Paris but didn’t seem too happy at being placed ninth in the Ballon d’Or rankings.

The France forward was caught on camera giving a disapproving glance to PSG teammate Messi as the top ten was read out and he was named lower than expected in the list.

He finished below Kevin De Bruyne, Mohamed Salah, Cristiano Ronaldo, N’Golo Kante, Karim Benzema and Jorginho.

The youngster looked less than impressed with his standings in the Ballon d’Or

The youngster looked less than impressed with his standings in the Ballon d’Or

Full list of winners:

  • Ballon d’Or: Lionel Messi (Barcelona, PSG and Argentina)
  • Ballon d’Or Féminin: Alexia Putellas (Barcelona and Spain)
  • Kopa Trophy: Pedri (Barcelona and Spain)
  • Yashin Trophy: Gianluigi Donnarumma (Milan, PSG and Italy)
  • Striker of the Year: Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich and Poland)
  • Club of the Year: Chelsea

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