Barcelona legend Ronaldinho had a message for former teammate Lionel Messi after seeing the Argentine win a record seventh Ballon d’Or on Monday, November 30 at a ceremony in Paris, France.
Messi scooped the Golden Ball ahead of Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski and Chelsea midfielder Jorginho, and Ronaldinho was delighted to see the 34-year-old make more footballing history.
“Congratulations, Lionel Messi. It is a great joy to see you with another Ballon d’Or, you are so deserving of everything that happens to you in your life,” he wrote on Instagram. “There are already seven and there is room for more, eh. We are together, my friend.”
Messi claimed the award after helping Barca win the Copa del Rey in 2020-21, finishing the season as La Liga’s top scorer for the eighth time and guiding Argentina to Copa America victory in Brazil.
The forward had previously won the award in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2019. No player has won the Golden Ball on more occasions with Cristiano Ronaldo the closest on five wins.
Ronaldinho won the Ballon d’Or as a Barcelona player in 2005, beating a strong shortlist that consisted of players such as Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Thierry Henry, and Andriy Shevchenko.
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Messi Sends Classy Message to Lewandowski
Messi’s closest rival for the Ballon d’Or was Lewandowski who was the hot favorite to win the award in 2020 before it was canceled due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the football calendar.
Lewandowski won the treble with Bayern in 2019-20 and netted an incredible 55 goals in 47 games. The Bayern striker has continued his prolific form in 2021, scoring 53 goals in all competitions, and was handed a new Striker of the Year prize at Monday’s ceremony.
Messi paid tribute to the Bayern Munich attacker in his acceptance speech, as reported by The Mirror.
“Robert, you deserve your Ballon D’Or. Last year, everyone was in agreement to say that you were the big winner of this award,” he said. “Hopefully France Football will give you the 2020 Ballon d’Or. We all believe you deserved it and I hope you can have it at home.”
Good Night For Barcelona
Messi’s win sealed a good night for Barcelona on what was a special day for the club. Barcelona celebrated 122 years since the club was founded on Monday, November 29.
Teenage midfielder Pedri also went home with a prize after winning the 2021 Kopa Trophy, handed out to the best player under the age of 21. The 19-year-old has enjoyed a phenomenal rise since signing for the Catalan giants from Las Palmas in summer 2020.
Pedri is already a key player for both club and country. He has won the Copa del Rey and a silver medal with Spain at the Tokyo Olympics since joining Barca and also picked up the 2021 Golden Boy award.
Barcelona were also able to celebrate Alexia Putellas winning the Women’s Ballon d’Or. The Barca Femeni captain played a key role last season as the team won the treble for the first time in their history.
The 27-year-old paid tribute to her team-mates in her acceptance speech, as reported by the Guardian. She said, “I’m very emotional, it’s a very special moment. I would like to start by thanking all my teammates, especially my current [Barcelona] teammates. For me it’s a collective success.”