Lionel Messi and Alexia Putellas win Ballon d’Or awards

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Lionel Messi won the Ballon d’Or for the seventh time on Monday, extending his record, as Alexia Putellas became the third winner of the women’s award.

“I’m very happy to be here, happy to keep fighting for new trophies,” Messi said through a translator. “I don’t know how many years I have left, but I hope many more. I’d like to thank all my (former) teammates at Barcelona and Argentina.”

Messi finished with 613 points to top Bayern Munich and Poland striker Robert Lewandowski on 580.

Messi counts two more Ballon d’Or awards than longtime rival Cristiano Ronaldo, who was sixth in the voting.

It came after a stunning final season with Barcelona and his first major international trophy win with Argentina in July.

Awarded by France Football magazine, the Ballon d’Or has been given out to men every year since 1956 when Stanley Matthews won.

Meanwhile, Putellas became the third winner of the women’s award for an outstanding season with Barcelona and Spain.

She helped Barca win the treble and scored 26 goals in 42 games overall.

The midfielder netted in the Champions League final against Chelsea, and in August she was named UEFA women’s player of the year.

“I’m very emotional, it’s a very special moment,” she said at the Paris ceremony through a translator. “I would like to start by thanking all my teammates, especially my current (Barcelona) teammates. For me, it’s a collective success.”

The only previous women’s award winners are Norway striker Ada Hegerberg in 2018, and U.S. forward Megan Rapinoe in 2019.

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Both 2020 awards were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In other awards, the Kopa Trophy for the best under 21 player went to 19-year-old Spain and Barcelona midfielder Pedri.

Gianluigi Donnarumma, who helped Italy win the Euros, won the Yashin trophy for best goalkeeper.

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