By Arogbonlo Israel
Paris Saint-Germain superstar Lionel Messi has been awarded the 2021 Ballon d’Or.
At a star-studded ceremony in Paris on Monday evening, the 34-year-old Argentine forward was crowned the world’s best player for the seventh time.
It is a record seventh occasion overall after seeing off strong competition from the likes of Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski, Real Madrid’s Benzema and Chelsea’s Jorginho.
Buzz had been growing for weeks that the Argentine was a cert for soccer’s highest individual accolade.
The brainchild of France Football magazine journalist Gabriel Hanot, the Ballon d’Or is widely seen as the most prestigious award in the footballing calendar.
Stanley Matthews of Blackpool and England was the inaugural winner while Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United and Real Madrid have dominated the 21st century, winning 12 times between them.