LIONEL MESSI WINS 7TH BALLON D’OR

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Paris St-Germain and Argentina forward Lionel Messi won the Ballon d’Or – awarded to the best footballer of the year – for a record seventh time.

Messi, 34, helped his country win the Copa America, his first international honour, and has scored 40 goals in 2021 – 28 for Barcelona, four for Paris St-Germain and eight for Argentina.

Bayern Munich and Poland striker Robert Lewandowski came second, Chelsea and Italy midfielder Jorginho was third and Real Madrid’s French striker Karim Benzema finished fourth.

The Ballon d’Or is voted for by 180 journalists from around the world, although there was no award in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.