Ballon d'Or 2021: Messi wins record seventh Ballon d'Or, Putellas takes women's honour

Messi, who won his seventh Ballon d'Or, led his former club Barcelona to a Copa del Rey title and his national team to Copa America success last season.

FILE PHOTO: Lionel Messi won his record seventh men's Ballon d'Or award on Monday.   -  AP

Lionel Messi won his record seventh men's Ballon d'Or award on Monday beating the likes of Robert Lewandowski and rival Cristiano Ronaldo to the prize in Paris.

The Argentina and Paris Saint-Germain forward previously won it in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2019 before the awards were suspended in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Messi led his former club Barcelona to a Copa del Rey title and his national team to Copa America success last season.

“I'm very happy to be here, happy to keep fighting for new trophies," he said through a translator. “I don't know how many years I have left, but I hope many more. I'd like to thank all my (former) teammates at Barcelona and Argentina.”

“I would like to say to Robert that it's an honor to be your rival, and everyone would say you deserved to win it last year,” Messi said.

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Barcelona and Spain midfielder Alexia Putellas took home the women's Ballon d'Or after a treble-winning 2020-21 season.

“I'm very emotional, it's a very special moment,” she said at the Paris ceremony through a translator. “I would like to start by thanking all my teammates, especially my current (Barcelona) teammates. For me it's a collective success.”

Barcelona and Spain midfielder Pedri, 19, was awarded the Kopa Trophy for being the best player under the age of 21 years. Not only did he impress at Barcelona but he also achieved success with the national side reaching the Euro 2020 semifinals and the Tokyo Olympics final.

Pedri beat other emerging players such as Borussia Dortmund's Jude Bellingham, Bayern Munich's Jamal Musiala and Paris Saint Germain's Nuno Mendes for the award.

PSG's 22-year-old Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, who made heroic saves during the penalty shootout against England in the Euro 2020 final, was adjudged the goalkeeper of the year and won the Yachine trophy.

Lewandowski won the Striker of the Year award, one of the two new awards introduced this year.

Chelsea won the Club of the Year award for having the most number of nominees across various categories.

(With inputs from AP)

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