PARIS -- Paris Saint-Germain and Argentina's Lionel Messi has won the Ballon d'Or for the seventh time in his career which is a new record that now puts him two clear of Cristiano Ronaldo in the all-time standings.
Despite his summer departure from Barcelona, Messi's latest success and his first since 2019 was largely due to his triumph with Argentina at the latest Copa America which finally added an international title to his impressive collection.
"I am really proud to win the France Football Ballon d'Or once again," Messi told PSG of his seventh title. "It is incredible to win it for the seventh time. I would like to thank my family, my friends and all the people who follow me and always support me, because without them I could not have done it"
Bayern Munich and Poland's Robert Lewandowski came second having seen his biggest chance dashed when COVID-19 canceled the 2020 event in the Germans' prime as they conquered all before them in an incredible clean sweep.
Jorginho came third having won the UEFA Champions League with Chelsea and UEFA Euro 2020 with Italy as Real Madrid and France's Karim Benzema came fourth with a UEFA Nations League title added to his name relatively late in the race.
Messi's latest win with PSG now means that the French giants finally have a Ballon d'Or winner having seen George Weah crowned as an AC Milan player just months after moving to San Siro and the current president of Liberia remains the only native African winner of the award.
"I would like to warmly congratulate Leo," added PSG Chairman and CEO Nasser Al-Khelaifi. "The club is immensely proud that one of our players has won this most prestigious and coveted title. Leo is making football history once again."
Barcelona's Alexia Putellas received the honors in the women's category while emerging Barca men's starlet Pedri was named Kopa trophy winner with Messi's current PSG teammate Gianluigi Donnarumma taking the Yashin award for best goalkeeper after winning UEFA Euro 2020 with Italy before leaving AC Milan.
"Receiving the Lev Yashin Trophy is a huge honor for me," said the Azzurri shot stopper. "I would like to thank my family and all my teammates who have contributed to the success of this exceptional year. I hope to build on this and continue to shine for PSG and Italy."
Lewandowski was crowned Striker of the Year for his incredible scoring feats while Chelsea took the other new title of Best Club after their Champions League triumph.
- Team of the year: Chelsea
- Striker of the year: Robert Lewandowski
- Yashin Trophy (best goalkeeper in the world): Gianluigi Donnarumma
- Kopa Trophy (best player in the world under the age of 21): Pedri
- Ballon d'Or Féminin (best female player in the world): Alexia Putellas
- Ballon d'Or (best male player in the world): Lionel Messi