Ballon d'Or 2021: Lionel Messi claims his seventh title

Ballon d'Or 2021 Lionel Messi
(Image credit: Getty)

Ballon d'Or 2021 has been announced, with PSG star Lionel Messi picking up his seventh award.

The Argentinian won an international tournament for the first time this year, scooping the Copa America in the summer, as his country beat Brazil in the final of the competition. 

Messi also won the 2021 Copa Del Rey with Barcelona before moving to Paris Saint-Germain in the summer in a surprise deal, after almost 20 years of living in Catalonia. 

Barca finished third in the league behind both Madrid clubs Real and Atletico. It was a good season for Messi individually, however, with the no.10 scoring 38 goals in all competitions for the club.

His last goal in the Champions League, a long-range screamer, came against his future employers, PSG, when Barca were knocked out of the tournament at the last-16 round.

Messi's Ballon d'Or means that he is the first PSG player to have ever won the award, following Neymar becoming the first PSG star to get to the podium when he was voted third in 2017. 

Jean-Pierre Papin was the last player from Ligue 1 to be crowned Ballon d'Or winner. The Marseille attacker was the 1991 recipient.

Messi first won the award in 2009, following Barcelona's sextuple. The forward then won the gong for the next three consecutive years, with Barca sweeping first, second and third position in 2010, before Cristiano Ronaldo won 2013 and 2014's edition.

Messi was back on top in 2015, following Barcelona's treble and only triumphed again in 2019. His seventh win puts him two ahead of Ronaldo as the most decorated Ballon d'Or winner ever. 

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Mark White
Staff Writer

Mark White has been a staff writer on FourFourTwo since joining in January 2020, writing pieces for both online and the magazine. An encyclopedia of football shirts and boots knowledge – both past and present – Mark has also been to the FA Cup and League Cup finals for FFT and has written pieces for the mag ranging on subjects from Bobby Robson's season at Barcelona to Robinho's career. He once saw Tyrone Mings at a petrol station in Bournemouth but felt far too short to ask for a photo.