Lionel Messi has been named the 2023 FIFA Player of the Year, winning the award for the third time after previous wins in 2019 and 2022.
The Argentina legend, who also collected his eighth Ballon d’Or award in October for leading his country to World Cup glory in 2022, saw off competition from Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe and Manchester City goalkeeper Erling Haaland.
During the qualifying period from 19 December 2022 to 20 August 2023, Messi left European football after winning his second Ligue 1 title with PSG to join Major League Soccer team Inter Miami.
In North America, the 36-year-old guided David Beckham’s club to their first ever domestic silverware with the League Cup, where he topped the tournament with ten goals in seven games.
The former Barcelona star also enjoyed another productive year in international football, scoring his 100th goal for Argentina in a 7-0 win over Curacao last March. After Iranian legend Ali Daeli and Portuguese great Cristiano Ronaldo, he became only the third male footballer ever to score 100 goals.
It is Messi’s second consecutive FIFA best player award after winning in 2022. Robert Lewandowski won the gong two years running in 2020 and 2021, while current striker Al Nassr Ronaldo took it in the first two years in 2016 and 2017.
Luka Modric, who won in 2018 after an amazing year both domestically and internationally, is the only other winner in the men’s category.