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Lionel Messi: This year was just mad for me

Updated on: 01 March,2023 09:38 AM IST  |  Paris

Lionel Messi, who won Best FIFA Men’s Player award, considers himself lucky that his dream of winning World Cup came true; Alexia Putellas retains women’s crown

Lionel Messi: This year was just mad for me

A delighted Lionel Messi after receiving the Best FIFA Men’s Player 2022 award in Paris on Monday; (right) Alexia Putellas. Pics/Getty Images

Lionel Messi won The Best FIFA men’s player prize for 2022 on Monday on the back of his World Cup triumph with Argentina and Spain’s Alexia Putellas retained the women’s award at a ceremony in Paris. 

Messi beat his Paris Saint-Germain teammate, and World Cup final rival, Kylian Mbappe to the men’s gong with Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema having been the other contender to claim the prize.

Second FIFA honour for Leo

It is the second time that Messi has won the honour inaugurated by FIFA in 2016 after football’s world governing body split from Ballon d’Or organisers France Football.

The award, which is voted for by national team coaches and captains, journalists and also fans, recognises a year in which the former Barcelona star crowned his glorious career by leading Argentina to victory at the World Cup.

Messi scored twice in an epic final in Doha as Argentina beat France on penalties despite Mbappe netting a hat-trick for Les Bleus in a remarkable 3-3 draw. 

He also claimed the Golden Ball for the best player at the tournament, although Mbappe was the top scorer with eight goals, one more than Messi. 

“This year was just mad for me, to be able to achieve my dream that I had fought so hard for. In the end I got it and it was the most beautiful thing that has happened in my career,” Messi said of his World Cup win as he collected his award. 

Also read: Mbappé and Messi combine as leader PSG wins 3-0 at Marseille

“It is a dream for every footballer but something that very few can make come true,” added Messi, who sat in the Paris theatre in between Mbappe and his wife Antonella Roccuzzo. He took the prize just 24 hours after combining with Mbappe to lead PSG to a 3-0 win over Marseille in Ligue 1. 

Putellas pips Mead, Morgan

Putellas retained the women’s prize despite spending the second half of last year out injured. The 29-year-old beat England’s European Championship-winning striker Beth Mead and United States star Alex Morgan to add the FIFA crown to the Ballon d’Or, which she has also won two years running.

Other award winners

. Best men’s goalkeeper: Emiliano ‘Dibu’ Martinez
. Best women’s goalkeeper: Mary Earps
. Best men’s coach: Lionel Scaloni
. Best women’s coach: Sarina Wiegman
. Puskas Award for Best Goal: Marcin Oleksy
. Best Fan award: Argentina fans
. Best Fair Play award: Luka Lochoshvili
. Special tribute: Pele

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