Lionel Messi was named FIFA’s best men’s player for 2023 during an awards event in London on Monday.
Messi won the Ballon d’Or for the third time, but the eight-time winner was a surprise winner ahead of Erling Haaland on an otherwise spectacular night for Manchester City.
The award was only valid from the time Messi led Argentina to World Cup success in December 2022 until August 2023.
Despite winning the League 1 championship with Paris Saint-Germain, the 36-year-old had a quiet conclusion to his career until joining MLS club Inter Miami in June.
Messi soon earned a name for himself in the United States, where he helped the team, which David Beckham owns in part, win their first championship, the Leagues Cup, in August.
Haaland was the favorite to win after scoring 52 goals in his rookie season with City, who won the Champions League, Premier League, and FA Cup.
Despite obtaining the same amount of points from a scoring system based on votes from national team leaders, coaches, journalists, and fans, Messi was declared the winner due to more first-choice selections.
Kylian Mbappe, Messi’s former club colleague, finished third.
Messi did not attend the trophy presentation.