Lionel Messi has been gifted with eight golden rings to represent each of his Ballon d'Or crowns. The Argentinian star, 36, was named as the winner of the award for a record-breaking eighth time during a plush ceremony in Paris on Monday.
The Inter Miami forward was given the 14-carat gold rings by sportswear giant Adidas. Each ring, which are reportedly set to be auctioned off, signifies one of Messi's Ballon d'Or victories. They feature an inscription relating to memorable moments in Messi's career, including one which has three stars to mark Argentina's World Cup triumphs and another with the number '91' to mark his record goals tally in a calendar year. One of the photos released by Adidas depicts Messi paying tribute to NBA legend Bill Russell .
Messi is pictured with his hands between his face, wearing the eight rings, to replicate a similar pose by 11-time NBA championship winner Russell from an iconic photoshoot in 1996. The Argentinian, considered among the greatest players of all time, pipped Man City star Erling Haaland to this year's Ballon d'Or award. It came after another outstanding season from Messi, who guided his country to World Cup glory in Qatar in December.
He scored a whopping 32 goals in 55 games across all competitions to help PSG to the Ligue 1 title before making the move to the MLS to join David Beckham's Inter Miami. Beckham presented him with the coveted award at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris, to a standing ovation from members of the crowd. 'It's nice to be here once more to enjoy this moment,' said Messi. 'To be able to win the World Cup and achieve my dream.'
Speaking on Messi, Beckham said: 'It's very special to say he's a Miami player and he's in our city. He'll celebrate this with his team-mates and his family in his way. 'We'll do our best to celebrate it in the Miami way. I'm sure we can do a good party.' The four-time champions league winner beat some tough competition to claim first place, with Haaland second, Kylian Mbappe third and Kevin De Bruyne fourth.
Asked whether he was the best football player in history at the ceremony, the 36-year-old replied: 'As I always said, I do not know if I am the best player in history or not. 'If I am one of the best, then this is a wonderful thing.' Messi also wrote on his Instagram: 'I only have words of gratitude for all the people around the world who supported me so much during my career and to whom I want to specially dedicate this award, along with my family who was always by my side.
'This is a Ballon d'Or that I also want to share with my fellow, technical body, the employees... Because without the World Cup we achieved together it would have been impossible to win it. Congratulations to all the winners and many thanks!' He also wished the late Argentine legend Diego Maradona, who died in 2020 following a fatal heart attack, a happy birthday during his acceptance speech.
Being as Maradona was perhaps the most iconic soccer player born in Argentina besides Messi, it did not escape the 36-yeard-old's attention that he won the award on his idol's 63rd birthday. 'Wherever you are, this is also for you. Happy birthday, Diego,' said Messi before he received a heartwarming applause from the crowd. Messi was joined on the stage by his wife Antonela and their three sons Thiago, Mateo, and Ciro as he accepted the award.
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اخلاء مسئولية! : هذا المحتوى لم يتم انشائة او استضافته بواسطة موقع اخبار الكورة و اي مسؤلية قانونية تقع على عاتق الموقع مصدر الخبر : dailymail.co.uk  , يتم جمع الاخبار عن طريق خدمة ال RSS المتاحة مجانا للجمهور من المصدر : dailymail.co.uk  مع الحفظ على حقوق الملكية الخاصة بمصدر الخبر.