Lionel Messi won a record-breaking eighth Ballon d’Or on Monday, October 30th in Paris, but he wasn’t the only person from our communities being honored at the Ballon d’Or Ceremony.
His win had been widely expected after the World Cup win by Argentina in the Qatar 2022 World Cup, and international media had been reporting he’d get the top award for weeks. Messi had won the award seven previous times, the most by any man. He wasn’t the only member of that Argentina World Cup winning team to be celebrated, however, and the other names might not be as famous as Messi, but they were clear signs there is life in fútbol outside of Messi.
Argentina and Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martínez walked away with the prestigious 2023 Yashin Trophy, awarded to the best goalie – and also finished fifteen in the Ballon d’Or voting. Meanwhile, 23-year-old Manchester City forward Julián Alvarez finished seventh in the Ballon d’Or voting. Inter’s Lautaro Martínez finished 20th.
The four Argentina players were not the only Latinos celebrated. Brazil’s Vinicius Jr. finished 6th in the Ballon d’Or voting, and was also awarded the Socrates Award, which recognizes a player’s humanitarian work. Vinicius Jr.’s award comes due to his work with the Vini Jr. Institute, which looks to “support Brazilian public schools in building new teaching-learning models, using technology as a tool and sports as a language.”
Colombia’s Linda Caicedo came in ninth on the women’s Ballon d’Or voting, making her the highest Latina celebrated. Brazil’s Debinha finished 28th.
Messi dedicated his award to Argentinian fútbol legend Diego Maradona, who passed away in 2020. October 30th would have been Maradona’s 63rd birthday.