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Who is the oldest ever Ballon D’Or winner and where does Lionel Messi fit in?

We take a look at Messi’s place in the all-time Ballon D’Or winners

Lionel Messi could become the second-oldest player to ever lift the Ballon D’or should he win the 2023 tournament as anticipated.

The Argentine has had a largely underwhelming club year, which saw him move to the MLS this summer after his contract with Paris Saint Germain expired and fans protested him staying.

However, on the international scene he led Argentina to their first World Cup win since 1986, drawing himself level with Diego Maradona in the eyes of his home country.

As a result of his 7 goals at the tournament, the Argentine maestro is widely expected to scoop his eighth Ballon D’or ahead of Manchester City’s Erling Haaland (who spearheaded his club to a historic treble), a record in itself and well ahead of second-place Cristiano Ronaldo, who has managed five to date and was left out of the reckoning for this season’s accolade.

At 36-years-old, it is some achievement.

However, he will have to go some way to break the record of the oldest man to pick up the award. That record belongs to England winger Sir Stanley Mathews, who managed to lift the Ballon D’or at the ripe old age of 41 years old. Given that he played until 52 years old, it was still relatively early in his glittering career, but it is a record that has stood since 1956.

Should he win, Messi will slot into second place though, above the current holder Karim Benzema, who won the 2022 version of the competition, and Messi again for his win in 2021.

The 10 oldest Ballon D’or winners

1. Sir Stanley Matthews – 41 years old (1956)

2. Lionel Messi – 36 years old (2023?)

3. Karim Benzema – 34 (2022)

4. Lionel Messi -34 (2021)

5. Lev Yashin – 34 (1963)

6. Alfredo Di Stefano – 33 (1959)

7. Luka Modric – 33 (2018)

8. Fabio Cannavaro – 33 (2006)

9. Cristiano Ronaldo – 32 (2017)

10. Josef Masopust – 31 (1962)


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Ben Browning

Football writer and analyst. Long-time writer of all things Arsenal and avid watcher of European football. Happy to discuss all things football over on Twitter.

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