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

Chris Byfield

| 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."


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.



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?”


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.


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Featured Image Credit: Getty/Metropoles

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

Chris Byfield
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