To make sure you never miss out on your favourite NEW stories, we're happy to send you some reminders

Click 'OK' then 'Allow' to enable notifications

Not now
OK
Advert
Advert
Advert

Brazil president Lula aims dig at Neymar after Lionel Messi's eighth Ballon d'Or win

Chris Byfield

Published 
| Last updated 

Brazil president Lula aims dig at Neymar after Lionel Messi's eighth Ballon d'Or win

Brazil’s president Lula aimed a veiled dig at Neymar after Lionel Messi’s Ballon d’Or win.

On Monday evening Messi won a record-extending eighth Ballon d’Or at a ceremony in Paris, 10 months after captaining his country to their first World Cup triumph since 1986.

The Argentinian was recognised ahead of Manchester City forward Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe who finished in second and third respectively.

Messi said: "It's nice to be here once more to enjoy this moment. To be able to win the World Cup and achieve my dream."

Advert

The Inter Miami star, who became the first person playing outside Europe to claim the prize, added: "I couldn't imagine having the career I've had and everything I've achieved, the fortune I've had to be part of the best team in history.

"All of them [Ballon d'Or awards] are special for different reasons."

France Football’s Ballon d'Or recognises the best footballer of the year and is voted for by 100 journalists from around the world.

Messi, regarded in some quarters as the greatest footballer of all time, has received widespread praise and morsels of criticism after claiming the prize.

Advert

Loading…

Indeed, even heads of state, like Brazil’s Lula, have heaped praise on Messi. The President said: “A man who’s 36 years old.

“He was World Champion and this year won the Ballon d'Or. He should be an inspiration for kids who are on TV and then disappear.

“How many years since Brazil has had a real idol like him?”

Advert

Lula’s comments have been perceived as a veiled criticism of Neymar, who is comfortably the greatest Brazilian player of his generation.

The 31-year-old is Brazil’s all-time top male scorer after he surpassed Pele’s record last month with his 78th goal for his country. He added his 79th in the same World Cup qualifying match against Bolivia.

Moreover, having been heralded as a star from an early age, Neymar has gone on to win the Champions League, two La Liga titles, five Ligue 1 crowns and a Copa Libertadores, while dazzling crowds with his tricks and flicks.

However, ill-advised career moves and a string of injuries have meant the Brazilian has never quite reached the heady heights that had been expected by some.

Advert

SPORTbible are on WhatsApp! We've launched a dedicated news channel to send you the latest news, features and plenty more directly on WhatsApp and all you need to do to sign up is click through to our one-way broadcast channel here for 'SPORTbible News' to appear in the 'Updates' tab on your WhatsApp.

Featured Image Credit: Getty/Metropoles

Topics: Brazil, Neymar, Lionel Messi, Ballon d'Or

Chris Byfield
More like this
Advert
Advert
Advert

Chosen for YouChosen for You

Football

Nottingham Forest send out Mark Clattenburg to explain why owner is 'upset' with late decision vs Liverpool

8 hours ago

Most Read StoriesMost Read

Jeremy Clarkson's gridwalk interview with Martin Brundle before Bahrain GP has got F1 fans talking

14 hours ago