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Lionel Messi wins 8th Ballon d’Or award, Emi Martinez, Bellingham and others shines

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Argentine football icon, Lionel Messi, has been confirmed the winner of the 2023 Ballon d’Or as he becomes the first player to win the award a record eight times.

Lionel Messi was announced the winner of the Ballon d’Or ahead of Erling Haaland of Manchester City at the 2,500-capacity Theatre du Chatelet in Paris, France on Monday, October 30, 2023.

Before this year’s edition of the award, the 36-year-old Argentine football icon had won the award for a record 7 times, two more than his rival, Cristiano Ronaldo.

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Following Messi’s victory in the 2023 edition of the Ballon d’Or, the Argentine football icon has won the award three more times than 38-year-old Ronaldo who currently plays for Al Nassr of Saudi Arabia.

Aside from being the only player to win the Ballon d’Or a record 8 times, Lionel Messi has become the only player to win the Ballon d’Or outside Europe as he is currently playing at Inter Miami in the United States.

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Also, Messi has become the first player to win the Ballon d’Or in three different countries, six times in Spain while playing for FC Barcelona, once in France, while playing for Paris Saint Germain, and once in the United States, while playing for Inter Miami.

Lionel Messi won the 2023 edition of the award ahead of Haaland who won the treble with Manchester City last season – Premier League, FA Cup, and UEFA Champions – majorly because the football icon helped Argentina to win the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, where he won the best player of the tournament.

 

Lionel Messi and his family at the 2023 Ballon d’Or in Paris, France.

Aside from that, Messi scored 21 goals and provided 20 assists in 41 games in all competitions for PSG last season, helping the club win French Super Cup, and the French Ligue 1 title before joining Inter Miami during the last summer transfer window.

Inter Miami co-owner, David Beckham presented the 2023 Ballon d’Or to Messi as the Argentine icon succeeds Karim Benzema of France and Al-Ittihad who won the 2022 edition of the award.

See winners of other categories of the 2023 Ballon d’Or

Aitana Bonmati won the 2023 Women’s Ballon d’Or

1. Jude Bellingham won the 2023 Kopa Trophy.

2. Vinicius Junior Won the 2023 Socrates Award.

3. Emiliano Martinez won the 2023 Yachine Trophy.

4. FC Barcelona Femeni won the 2023 women’s club of the year.

5. Erling Haaland won the 2023 Gerd Muller Award.

6. Manchester City won the 2023 men’s club of the year.

7. Aitana Bonmati won the 2023 Women’s Ballon d’Or.

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Breaking: Enugu Rangers Emerge NPFL Champions

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Enugu Rangers on Sunday emerged champions of the 2023/2024 Nigerian Premier Football League (NPFL) champions.

The team emerged as NPFL champions after defeating Bendel Insurance 2-0 in front of their home fans in Enugu.

Kenechukwu Agu put Rangers ahead after 32 minutes in the game, and Chidiebere Nwobodo increased the home team’s advantage after 65 minutes on the clock.

The win cements the top spot for the Enugu-based side, and their final game of the season, which is away to already relegated Gombe United, would be a mere formality.

Details later…

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NFF Breaks Silence Over Finidi George’s Resignation

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The head of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Ibrahim Gusau, has told newsmen that he is unaware of Super Eagles coach, Finidi George’s reported resignation.

Naija Latest Gist reports that Finidi George made headlines on Saturday morning after reports of his sudden resignation surfaced on the internet.

The embattled Super Eagles coach had stepped down after the NFF declared its intention to bring in an international expert as the Super Eagles’ new coach, following their poor showing in the 2026 World Cup qualifying rounds.

The Eagles have only managed to score three points out of a possible 12, landing them in fifth place in Group C, which has cast doubt on their chances of qualifying.

Their poor performances have angered the nation’s football-loving population, who are still reeling from the team’s failure to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

The announcement by the NFF on Thursday sparked a variety of reactions, with some Eagles supporters urging the federation’s board and George to step down.

Reports suggest that George is furious over the NFF’s decision to meet with the sports minister two days prior, without addressing the issue of players arriving late to training and the NFF’s lack of effort to rally support from Nigerians in Ivory Coast for the Eagles’ match against Benin Republic on last Monday.

The reports also indicate that George resigned from his position as the Eagles’ coach this morning (today).

However, when asked about the news making the round on Saturday, Gusau said he was unaware of George’s decision to let go of his appointment as Super Eagles coach.

“Not yet aware,” Gusau reportedly told The PUNCH in a chat on Saturday, June 15.

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Transfer: Galatasaray Makes Fresh Offer For Nigeria’s Wilfred Ndidi

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Galatasaray, the reigning champions of the Turkish Super Lig, are intensifying their efforts to secure the services of Leicester City star, Wilfred Ndidi.

Naija Latest Gist reports that Ndidi is set to become a free agent by the end of the month, and negotiations are ongoing between Leicester City and the midfielder regarding a potential contract extension.

Renowned transfer expert, Nicolo Schira, has reported that Galatasaray has put forward a three-year contract offer to Ndidi, possibly extending it for another year.

The 27-year-old defensive midfielder has been a key player for Leicester City since he arrived in 2017.

However, with his current deal expiring soon, Ndidi appears to be considering a move away from the King Power Stadium.

Reports from Fanatik suggest that Leicester City has struggled to persuade Ndidi to commit his future to the club, opening the door for Turkish teams to enter the race for his signature.

Apart from Galatasaray, Trabzonspor and Besiktas are reportedly interested in securing Ndidi’s services.

Trabzonspor, looking to strengthen their attacking and midfield options, have shown interest in Ndidi and Paul Onuachu.

The Black Sea Storm are determined to sign Ndidi and have presented an attractive offer, including a significant signing bonus.

On the other hand, Galatasaray has strongly proposed a three-plus-one-year contract to entice Ndidi to choose them over other potential suitors.

Ndidi’s consistent performances at Leicester City have made him a highly sought-after player in the transfer market.

Last season, the Nigerian player played 36 matches, scoring six goals and providing six assists for the Foxes.

In addition to his club contributions, Ndidi has been a key player for the Nigerian national team, featuring prominently in their recent FIFA World Cup qualifying matches against South Africa and Benin Republic.

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