Read English translation of Lionel Messi’s speech after winning 8th Ballon d’Or
Lionel Messi won a record extending eight Ballon d’Or on Monday night.
The Argentina star finished ahead of Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe, after captaining his nation to a first World Cup triumph since 1986 in Qatar, netting seven times in seven games and being named player of the tournament.
Messi was presented the award by Inter Miami owner David Beckham, before giving a speech in which he thanked the organisers for the award, paid tribute to Diego Maradona, and praised Mbappe and Haaland.
Of course, all the above was in Spanish.
So, for the English speakers, here is what Messi said upon winning the award.
Messi said: “Thanks to everyone, especially my teammates. Thank you to everyone who voted for me. This Ballon d’Or is a great gift for all of Argentina. I don’t want to forget Haaland or Mbappé, who had a great year, spectacular, and in the coming years they will win this award.
“The level [of competition] never decreases, I have been lucky to be here for many years. I want to provide a special mention for all those people who were happy that Argentina became world champions. Thanks also to all my family, my wife, my children, for being there in the worst moments, and they have helped me fulfill my dreams in football. Without you it would not have been possible.
“I want to make one last mention of Maradona. Happy birthday, I think there is no better place than here to congratulate him, full of players and with a ball. This Ballon d’Or is also yours and that of all of Argentina.”
The man from Rosario added: “All the awards have been special, but I always emphasise the importance of the team. This is secondary. Look at City, they have been the best and achieved everything last season.
“I have been very lucky, I have played for the best team in the world, the best in history, I have been able to win many individual awards thanks to that. With Argentina I have had very bad times, but I never gave up on winning the Copa America and World Cup, and that’s why I’m proud of not having given up.”
Messi also thanked Beckham, who was still on stage, for bringing him to Miami before heaping further praise on Haaland and Mbappe.
He said: “It’s going to be a nice fight between the two of them and between several other younger players around here.
“They both deserved it this year. Erling, this could have been yours and it would have felt perfect.”
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