During his acceptance speech for the Ballon d’Or, Lionel Messi conveyed a heartfelt and warm birthday message to Diego Maradona.
Lionel Messi’s attainment of his eighth Ballon d’Or is truly a remarkable feat, establishing him as the most adorned player in the annals of football in terms of this prestigious accolade. His acknowledgment of Diego Maradona’s birthday during his acceptance oration was a poignant touch.
In a setting adorned by the presence of his wife, Antonela, and their three sons, Thiago, Mateo, and Ciro, the family graced the occasion, joining Messi on stage during his speech. Notably, young Mateo exhibited his playful curiosity, attempting to hoist the trophy, which reportedly weighs around 15 kilograms, before returning it to Messi.
The night at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris was elevated to grandeur when Messi was announced as the recipient, eliciting a standing ovation from the audience as football celebrated one of its paragons. The question lingers whether this will mark Messi’s eighth and final award, yet the likelihood of anyone surpassing his tally remains remote.
This evening also saw Jude Bellingham being honored with the Kopa Trophy, and Erling Haaland receiving the Gerd Muller Trophy. Nonetheless, the celebration was marred by unsavory incidents when Emi Martinez was presented with the Yachine Trophy, as a replay of his astounding save during the World Cup final against Randal Kolo Muani drew disapproving jeers from a small minority in attendance.