Inter Miami and Argentina forward Lionel Messi took to the stage once more, perhaps for the last time, to receive the top honour at the global football awards ceremony. The Argentina superstar, reflecting on his career, stated, “Being a world champion was fantastic. But the truth is I’ve never really got used to receiving awards and being on the stage like this.”
Messi, who first claimed the award back in 2009, added, “Slowly, I have gotten used to it a bit more since winning it for the first time. I think today is the last time I will win it, so it feels calmer and I will enjoy it in a different way.”
The room was electric as attendees paid tribute to Messi’s achievements. It was a moment to savour, especially for his wife and their three children, who beamed with pride from the audience.
With Erling Haaland finishing in second place and Kylian Mbappe securing the third spot, the competition was indeed stiff. Recognising this, a gracious Messi said, “Above all I have to congratulate everyone who was nominated for this award. I have to share this award with my teammates and everything we achieved with the national team.”
Hailing his competitors for their monumental seasons, Messi added, “Hats off to Erling [Haaland], Kylian [Mbappe], and Kevin [De Bruyne] for having fantastic seasons. Many of you are young and have achieved so much already. There’s plenty of time left to be standing in my position.”
Amid the adulation, Messi did not lose sight of the collective effort behind his success, especially the historic World Cup win. “The entire group, the coaching staff, and everyone involved played their part in winning the World Cup.”
Reflecting on the inevitable passage of time, Messi pondered, “I don’t know for how much longer I’ll play but I plan to enjoy it. I can’t put a number on it as things can change very quickly from day to day in football. But I know that day is getting closer and closer.”
But for now, the night belonged to Lionel Messi, a living legend of the sport. In his words, “I’m delighted to be here once more to enjoy this moment one more time. I achieved my dream of winning the World Cup, but I share this with all those who were involved.”
This is the eighth time he has won it.