File image of Lionel Messi and Sunil Chhetri© AFP
Lionel Messi added another feather to his crown by winning The Best FIFA men’s player prize for 2022 on Monday on the back of his World Cup triumph with Argentina. 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. 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.
For India, skipper Sunil Chhetri gave his vote. His first choice (5 points) was Karim Benzema, second choice (3 points) was Kylian Mbappe, followed by third choice (1 point) Lionel Messi.
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.
“It is a dream for every footballer but something that very few can make come true,” added Messi, who was sat in the Paris theatre in between Mbappe and his wife Antonella Roccuzzo.
With AF inputs
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