2023 Ballon d’Or: Lionel Messi Crowned Winner for 8th Time, Becomes Oldest Winner Since 1956

Published 10/30/2023, 5:31 PM EDT

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There are a few players who have dominated the game from the start to the end of their respective careers. Lionel Messi once again etched his name into the history books as the player became the oldest soccer star to win the Ballon d’Or since 1956. La Pulga clinched the grand prize at 36, becoming the second-oldest player to lift the title after Stanley Matthews. English icon Sir Stanley Matthews made history in 1956, becoming the oldest player to lift the coveted award. Rain, snow, or hail, Lionel Messi wins the Ballon d’Or, again!

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La Pulga had a phenomenal campaign last year as he clinched the World Cup title with Argentina. The player was on fire throughout the tournament as he bagged seven goals and three assists for the side. In fact, Messi pipped Manchester City striker Erling Haaland to win the award, lifting his eighth title.

Lionel Messi becomes the oldest player since 1956 to win Ballon d’Or

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La Pulga has had an unbelievable career over the years. The little boy from Rosario has proven his critics wrong time and time again to come back determined. Messi had a disastrous start to his life in PSG in 2021 that saw him miss out on making it into Ballon d’Or’s top 50 in 2022. However, the Argentine star has proven that age is just a number, with La Pulga clinching his 8th Ballon d’Or at 36.

With this worthy accolade, Lionel Messi has joined the likes of Sir Stanley Matthews, earning the award in the twilight years of his career. The English icon, to this day, holds the record for being the oldest player to win the Ballon d’Or.

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Matthews was one of the first players to reach the superstar status. The Englishman had an illustrious career playing for Blackpool and Stoke City. The Englishman made invaluable contributions to the game, becoming the first player to get knighted in 1965.

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Over the years, no player has come even close to surpassing the record set by Sir Stanley Matthews. While the likes of Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Alfredo di Stefano lifted the title in their 30s, no one holds a handle on the legendary Englishman.

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Sir Stanley Matthews etched his name in history in 1956

Sir Matthews won the award at 41, following his incredible contributions to Blackpool. He started his career with Stoke City in 1932, making his debut for the senior team. The player’s exploits around England earned him the nickname “The Wizard of Dribble.” Matthews, following his exploits for Stoke City, was then called up to represent the national team in 1938, making 54 appearances for England.

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In 1941, he became the first player to be awarded the European Player of the Year before transferring to Blackpool in 1946. The player had one of his best seasons with the club in 1953, helping them win the FA Cup. He rejoined Stoke City in 1961, spending his last years with the club before retiring in 1965, at the age of 50.

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Do you think any player in history will surpass the record set by Sir Stanley Matthews? Let us know in the comments below.

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Written by:

Saurabh Saket

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Saurabh Saket is a soccer writer at EssentiallySports. While Saket has been an ardent fan for a while, his passion for the sport stems from FIFA 17 which featured Borussia Dortmund superstar Marco Reus on its cover. With dreams of standing as a part of the Yellow Wall at Signal Iduna Park, Saket loves to write about the game from a fan’s perspective giving his take on recent happenings.
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Edited by:

Jacob Gijy

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