BARRIO – Lionel Messi has been crowned the 2022 Best FIFA Men’s Player.
This year’s award ceremony was held in Paris. There was no doubt with Messi. He definitely solidified himself as the GOAT.
In what was likely his last opportunity at lifting football’s biggest prize, the PSG superstar put the team on his back in Qatar. Messi scored seven times in as many matches in the tournament and was awarded the Golden Ball for best player.
Victory in the Middle East helped further cement his legacy as one of the greatest footballers of all time. Domestically in 2022, he helped PSG to the Ligue 1 title and scored 17 goals and 24 assists in 37 appearances.
But it was an international calendar year which included 18 goals, six assists and a World Cup which put him above the competition. Recognition from FIFA means Messi has scooped the award for the second time since its inception in 2016.
He now joins Cristiano Ronaldo and Robert Lewandowski as two-time winners. In the seven editions of the ceremony, Messi has only been out of the top 3 once and was a narrow runner-up to Robert Lewandowski 12 months ago.
In a typically humble acceptance speech, Messi said: “I’d like to express thanks to my team-mates, to Scaloni (Argentina coach) and without them I wouldn’t be here. My coach, he is part of this victory as well. I’d like to pay tribute to all of my team-mates. It was an amazing year and I achieved a dream I’ve been hoping for so long.
“Finally I achieved it. It’s a dream for any player. Very few players can achieve that and I’ve been lucky enough to do it.”
This time around, his main competition came from French duo Karim Benzema and Kylian Mbappe. Benzema won the Ballon d’Or back in October of last year thanks to his stunning performances during Real Madrid ’s run to the Champions League. Messi wasn’t even nominated for that award, although more than likely he will win the next one.
As for Mbappe, he enjoyed a similarly historic World Cup to his PSG team-mate Messi. The 24-year-old was the top scorer in Qatar and became the first person since Sir Geoff Hurst to score a hat-trick in the final.