Lionel Messi Honors Late Diego Maradona On 63rd Birthday During Eighth Ballon d'Or Win

Photo: Instagram/Lionel Messi

In a touching and emotional moment, Lionel Messi, the Inter Miami forward, paid tribute to the late Diego Maradona while accepting his eighth Ballon d'Or award on Monday.

Maradona, who passed away in 2020, remains an iconic figure in Argentine soccer history, and Messi made sure to remember him on what would have been his 63rd birthday. The 36-year-old football superstar acknowledged the significance of winning the prestigious award on Maradona's birthday.

In his acceptance speech, Messi said, "Wherever you are, this is also for you. Happy birthday, Diego." His words were met with a heartwarming applause from the crowd, underscoring the deep respect and admiration Messi has for his fellow Argentine legend.

Photo: Instagram/Lionel Messi

Sharing the stage with his wife Antonela and their three sons, Thiago, Mateo, and Ciro, Messi received the Ballon d'Or trophy. In a heartwarming moment, his son Ciro attempted to hold the 33lb trophy, showing the close bond within the Messi family.

The award was presented to Messi by Inter Miami co-owner David Beckham, who played a pivotal role in Messi's move to Major League Soccer, making it a historic moment for the league. Messi's contribution to Inter Miami also earned him a finalist spot for the MLS Newcomer of the Year after leading the club to an unexpected victory in the Inaugural MLS Leagues Cup.

One of the key achievements that contributed to Messi's eighth Ballon d'Or win was his role in leading Argentina to a World Cup victory earlier in the year, cementing his status as one of the greatest footballers of all time.

Messi's closest competitors for the Ballon d'Or included Manchester City's prolific striker Erling Haaland, who received the Gerd Muller Trophy for being the highest-scoring male player in the 2022-23 season with 56 goals. Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe finished third in the Ballon d'Or race, coming just one goal short of Haaland in the race for the Gerd Muller Trophy.

Additionally, young talent was recognized at the ceremony, with Jude Bellingham receiving the Kopa Trophy for the best U21 player in the world, adding to the celebration of football's finest talents from across the globe.

Read Next: Judge Wins 2023 Clemente Award: 'It's Just The Beginning'

Source: Daily Mail

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