With an eighth Ballon d’Or in his cabinet, Lionel Messi firmly took another step towards being the undisputed greatest player in the history of the sport.
He lifted the award at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris earlier this week, beating the likes of Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe to the accolade.
A bitter moment
Present in attendance on the night were some of football’s biggest names. Players, coaches, and club presidents adorned the guest list for the sport’s big night in France.
Barcelona president Joan Laporta was one among those invited to attend the event. However, his encounter with Messi on the night was forgettable.
As revealed by Guillem Balague (h/t Albiceleste Talk), Joan Laporta happened to be near Messi when the Argentine was clicking photos with the Women’s Ballon d’Or winner Aitana Bonmati. He smiled at the man of the moment, wanted to talk to him and click a photo.
However, Messi walked away, ignoring his approach. The player still feels betrayed by the Barça president for his exit from the club and the links last summer which did not come to fruition.
Messi expresses his love for Barcelona
During his speech at the event and after the proceedings, Lionel Messi spoke in depth about his love for Barcelona and the club’s situation today.
“Barça is the best club in the world, in football history. It’s a special club, very different from the rest.”
“Barcelona have a great team. The squad has a mix of veterans and young players now, and this is very important in football.”
“I would like to say goodbye to the Barça fans in another way. I felt like the sensations weren’t good when I left. I deserve to say goodbye to the people that I shared good and bad times with,” he concluded.
More recently, he also spoke about the possibility of returning to Barça on loan, dismissing such a scenario completely.