Lionel Messi won his record-breaking eighth Ballon d’Or trophy on a historic evening in the heart of Paris, marking an important turning point in his legendary career. The Argentine maestro, who now plays for MLS club Inter Miami, won the renowned Ballon d’Or for the 2023 edition after an outstanding year at both club and international level.

Messi’s award comes on top of his key part in leading Argentina to World Cup title in December of the previous year, as well as his success with Paris Saint-Germain in obtaining the Ligue 1 title.

During his acceptance speech and accompanied press conference, the 36-year-old icon made a point of expressing his undying love for his former club, Barcelona, where he established his reputation in football.

Like Aitana said before me, I was lucky to play in the best club in the world, the best team in football history. It allowed me to win so many titles and individual awards,” Messi said.

“Barça is the best club in the world, in football history. It’s a special club, very different from the rest.”

When asked if he still followed Barcelona, the 36-year-old replied: “Of course I follow Barça. It’s the club that I love and will love all my life.

“Barcelona have a great team. The squad has a mix of veterans and young players now, and this is very important in football.

“They are ready to be able to fight for this Champions League. I have no doubt that they are a candidate, but they don’t have to put pressure on themselves to be the favorite.”

Despite his departure from the Catalan giants in the summer of 2021, speaks of a possible homecoming continue to persist. The good news for Barcelona fans is that the club is arranging a tribute game in recognition of Messi’s tremendous contributions.

When questioned about a potential future role with Barcelona, Messi remained open to the possibility, stating, “Barça are the club that saw me grow up, that gave me everything, that I love and that I also gave everything.

Why not come back to the club? But it’s not something I’m thinking about now. One day I’m going to be living in Barcelona, to be close to the club in one way or another. I’m going to be linked to that club and I don’t know what could happen.”

Messi’s heartfelt sentiments reflect his enduring connection to Barcelona, reaffirming the club’s unparalleled status in the annals of football history.

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