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Lionel Messi adds 7th Ballon d'Or to his record haul

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Paris Saint-Germain and Argentina forward Lionel Messi beat out Bayern Munich's runner-up Robert Lewandowski and 28 other nominees for the 2021 men's Ballon d'Or, which he received at a ceremony on Monday in Paris. 

The honor is awarded by France Football magazine to the male soccer player considered to be the best in the world over the previous year. It's voted on by a panel of 180 international journalists and is the most prestigious individual honor in the sport. 

Spain and Barcelona forward Alexia Putellas won the women's Ballon d'Or, which was awarded for the third time this year. She was named the UEFA women’s player of the year in August. 

Monday marked the seventh time that Messi has won the Ballon d'Or, extending a record he set with his sixth time being honored in 2019. Rival Cristiano Ronaldo is second all-time with five Ballon d'Ors. The Manchester United and Portugal forward finished sixth in voting this year. 

The award is also Messi's second straight. The Ballon d'Or wasn't awarded in 2020 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the international soccer schedule. He won this year for a professional season split between PSG and Barcelona. Messi left a Barcelona team he'd play for since 2004 in August to join PSG. He led his national team Argentina to a Copa America championship in July. 

PARIS, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 29: Lionel Messi is awarded with his seventh Ballon D'Or award during the Ballon D'Or Ceremony at Theatre du Chatelet on November 29, 2021 in Paris, France. (Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)
Lionel Messi extended his record tally while Cristiano Ronaldo finished sixth in voting. (Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)