LIONEL MESSI continued his stellar season after being named World player of the year at the FIFA Best Awards in Paris tonight.The Paris Saint-Germain star, 35, crowned his career by leading Argentina to their first World Cup since 1986 in December and scooped a second Best men’s player title here.
Messi has won FIFA’s The Best AwardCredit: Reuters
Lionel Messi was joined by his wife AntonelaCredit: Getty
Messi exchanges a look with his PSG team-mate Kylian MbappeCredit: Getty
The pair pose with their FIFPRO World XI awardsCredit: Reuters
Man Utd ace Casemiro jetted to Paris for the ceremony with his WagCredit: AFP
Man City ace Joao Cancelo, on loan at Bayern Munich, was also at the doCredit: Reuters
Aston Villa keeper Emi Martinez and his wife were in attendanceCredit: Reuters
The Argentina World Cup winner picked up the Best Goalkeeper awardCredit: Reuters
England star Mary Earps picked up the Women’s Goalkeeper award after helping the Lionesses to Euro gloryCredit: Getty
Fellow England star Beth Mead was also at the glitzy ceremonyCredit: Getty
But Mead was snubbed for the Best Women’s Player award, which went instead to Alexi PutellasCredit: Getty
Messi, who scored twice in the final against France, also won the Golden Ball in Qatar, having claimed the Ligue 1 title with PSG earlier in the year. His 12 league goals this season have helped the champions to an eight point lead in defending their title this term.
Messi, whose Argentina boss Lionel Scaloni was named as the best men’s coach ahead of Pep Guardiola, pipped PSG teammate Kylian Mbappe and Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema to the award.
Messi has now won two ‘The Best’ awards, meaning he is level with Robert Lewandowski and his old rival Cristiano Ronaldo who have also been honoured twice.
The former Barcelona man also now has ten individual gongs across both the FIFA Best, Ballon d’Or and FIFA player of the year awards, two more than Ronaldo.
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He said: “It is an amazing pleasure to be here, alongside Benzema and Mbappe, who had a wonderful year.
“It was an amazing year and I achieved a dream that I had been hoping for for so long.
“I want to pay tribute to all of my teammates and my coach, without them I wouldn’t be here.”
The star attended the exclusive bash alongside his wife Antonela and a host of fellow stars.
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Kylian Mbappe was there with his dad Wilfried and was named in the FIFPRO World XI alongside Messi, but lost out on the Best Player award to his PSG team-mate.
Prem stars including Emi Martinez – who won Best Goalkeeper – and Casemiro and Virgil van Dijk, both also named in the Team of 2022, attended with their other halves.
In the Women’s game, England boss Sarina Wiegman and Manchester United’s Mary Earps won best women’s coach and goalkeeper respectively following their Euro 2022 glory last summer.
Earps said: “I don’t really know what to say, thank you to everyone who voted for me. I feel really honoured to be holding this really heavy trophy. I want to say thank you to my loved ones who have picked me up off the kitchen floor to be here today, not today but in the past.
“This is for anyone who has ever been in a dark place. You can achieve anything you set your mind to. There’s only one of you in the world, be unapologetically yourself.”
Wiegman, winning the award for a third time, added: “The Euros were incredible, as the English say we brought it home.”
Meanwhile Beth Mead was pipped to the best women’s award by Alexia Putellas but she was named in the women’s World XI alongside three Lionesses teammates, Lucy Bronze, Leah Williamson and Keira Walsh.
Other huge names at the star-studded do in Paris included Brazil legend Ronaldo, Didier Drogba, Arsene Wenger, Joao Cancelo and, of course, FIFA President Gianni Infantino.
Jermaine Jenas was there to host the event – which left fans hugely impressed with the job of his agent.
As many had expected beforehand, the night belonged to Messi, who has been enjoying yet another record-breaking season for both club and country.
Since the start of the 2022-23 campaign he has recorded an incredible total of 17 goals and 16 assists in 28 appearances for PSG.
And he also managed to finally get his hands on the only trophy to have eluded him previously – the World Cup.
Messi led his Argentina teammates to glory in Qatar last year and claimed the prestigious Player of the Tournament Award in the process.
His red-hot form has continued into 2023 with PSG in pole position to retain their Ligue 1 title.
Messi left fans stunned when he scored his 700th career club goal on Sunday.
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He netted once for PSG during the club’s 3-0 win over Marseille and claimed the assist for both of Mbappe’s goals.
So it hardly came as a surprise to fans when he took to the stage in Paris to accept ‘The Best’ award.
Virgil van Dijk, who was named to the FIFPRO World XI, was at the event with his familyCredit: Getty
Jermaine Jenas hosted the FIFA Best ceremonyCredit: Getty
Mbappe showed up to the Paris bash with his dad WilfriedCredit: Reuters
Former Premier League ace Dimitri Payet was on the green carpet with his wifeCredit: Reuters
FIFA President Gianni Infantino was, of course, presentCredit: AP
Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger on the green carpetCredit: Getty
Brazil legend Ronaldo made an appearanceCredit: AP
Ex-Chelsea star Didier Drogba was also thereCredit: Getty More