21st January 2022
Alexia Putellas and Lionel Messi
Main News Sport

Spain’s Alexia Putellas wins Ballon d’Or – and Argentine Leo Messi wins his 7th

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

Argentina’s Lionel Messi won the Ballon d’Or award for the best player in the world for a record-stretching seventh time on Monday, beating Robert Lewandowski and Jorginho to lift soccer’s most prestigious trophy yet again.

The forward added to his 2009-12, 2015 and 2019 trophies after winning the Copa America for the first time with his country last July.

‘It’s incredible to be here again. Two years ago I thought it was the last time. Winning the Copa America was key,’ Messi said at Paris’s Theatre du Chatelet.

‘It is a special year for me with this Copa America title. It meant a lot to win at the Maracana stadium and I was so happy to celebrate with the people from Argentina. I don’t know if it’s the best year of my life, I’ve had a long career, but it was a special one with the title with Argentina after the tough times and the criticism,’ he said.

Messi, who joined Paris St Germain on a free transfer from Barcelona during the close season after finishing as La Liga’s top scorer with the Spanish club, collected 613 points, with Bayern Munich’s Lewandowski, named best striker on Monday, getting 580.

Jorginho, who won the Champions League with Chelsea and the European championship with Italy, ended up third on 460, ahead of France’s Karim Benzema and Ngolo Kante in fourth and fifth places respectively.

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