Lionel Messi wins men’s Ballon d’Or for seventh time

Lionel Messi won the men’s Ballon d’Or award for a record-extending seventh time at a ceremony in Paris on Monday.

Messi won the last edition of the Ballon d’Or in 2019 before last year’s awards were canceled due to the pandemic. He also won in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and in 2015.

The 34-year-old scored 38 goals in 48 games last season for Barcelona and won the Copa del Rey before captaining Argentina to Copa America glory in July.

That was the first major international title of his glittering career, which had been spent entirely with Barcelona before his tearful departure from the Camp Nou in August and subsequent move to Paris Saint-Germain.

Messi has played just 11 games for PSG so far, scoring four goals, but he was rewarded as much as anything for his continued brilliance down the years.

He has now won the Ballon d’Or twice more than his old rival Cristiano Ronaldo — between them, they have won 12 of the last 13 editions with the exception coming in 2018 when Luka Modric claimed the prize.

Prolific Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski finished second and Chelsea and Italy midfielder Jorginho was third in the voting by a jury of journalists from around the world.

Pedri, Donnarumma claim prizes at Ballon d’Or ceremony

Spain starlet Pedri won the Kopa Trophy for the best player aged under 21 at the Ballon d’Or awards ceremony in Paris on Monday, while Italy’s Gianluigi Donnarumma was named the best goalkeeper.

Barcelona midfielder Pedri, who only turned 19 last Thursday, was a key player for Spain as they reached the semi-finals of the European Championship and featured in their side that lost in the men’s Olympic football final against Brazil in Tokyo.

In addition, he played 52 games for Barcelona, helping them win the Copa del Rey.

Pedri, who joined Barca from Las Palmas last year, recently extended his contract at Camp Nou to 2026.

The Kopa Trophy is named after Raymond Kopa, the Real Madrid and France star of the post-war era who won the Ballon d’Or in 1958.

France forward Kylian Mbappe was the inaugural winner of the prize in 2018, and Matthijs de Ligt of Juventus and the Netherlands won it in 2019.

There was no Ballon d’Or awards ceremony last year because of the pandemic.

Donnarumma won the Yashin Trophy for the best goalkeeper after his outstanding performances in Italy’s glorious Euro 2020 campaign.

The 22-year-old left AC Milan for Paris Saint-Germain following the European Championship.

Liverpool and Brazil star Alisson was the first winner in 2019 of the Yashin Trophy, named after former USSR icon Lev Yashin.

Spain’s Alexia Putellas wins women’s Ballon d’Or

Alexia Putellas of Barcelona and Spain won the women’s Ballon d’Or prize at a ceremony in Paris on Monday, completing a remarkable year for the 27-year-old.

Putellas is the third winner of the prize, following in the footsteps of Ada Hegerberg, who won the inaugural women’s Ballon d’Or in 2018, and United States World Cup star Megan Rapinoe, winner in 2019.

The 2020 Ballon d’Or awards were canceled because of the pandemic.

Putellas captained Barcelona to victory in this year’s Champions League, scoring a penalty in the final as her side hammered Chelsea 4-0 in Gothenburg.

She also won a Spanish league and cup double with Barca, the club she joined as a teenager in 2012, and helped her country qualify for the upcoming Women’s Euro in England.

Her Barcelona and Spain teammate Jennifer Hermoso finished second in the voting, with Sam Kerr of Chelsea and Australia coming in third.

It completes awards double for Putellas, who in August was named player of the year by European football’s governing body UEFA.