To celebrate his record-extending eighth Ballon d’Or title, Adidas have presented Lionel Messi with eight 14-karat gold championship rings – and they all have a special meaning.
As expected, the 36-year-old forward beat Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe to win another Ballon d’Or at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris.
Following a campaign featuring a historic World Cup victory with Argentina, many heaped praise on the Inter Miami forward, including sponsors Adidas, who pulled out all the stops.
The German brand gifted Messi with eight gold championship rings to commemorate his Ballon d’Or win, including a “91” ring to mark his record-breaking calendar year in 2012.
The former Barcelona forward would also replicate a pose made famous by 11-time NBA championship winner Russell from 1996.
Here is the meaning behind every one of Lionel Messi’s eight rings, as well as individual pictures.
2009: “El Beso” is the first ring that pays tribute to his celebration in the Champions League final against Manchester United, when he kissed the Barcelona badge.
2010: “Apunta Al Cielo” is a touching tribute to Messi’s celebration dedicated to his grandmother, Celia, when he pointed to the sky as a symbol of remembrance and gratitude.
2011: “GOAT” is a ring that remembers Messi’s role in Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona side – a team that is often regarded as the best in history. “He epitomised the ethos of the greatest of all time.”
2012: “91” is a symbol of his greatest season. Messi scored 91 goals in a calendar year – an achievement that will be almost impossible to beat. The ring celebrates his incredible scoring prowess.
2015: “Champions League Triumph” honours his victory in the 2015 Champions League, where he helped Barcelona secure their fourth title in the competition.
2019: “Golden Shoe Excellence” is the sixth ring that marks Messi’s Golden Shoe win in 2019 – a title that made him the player with the most Golden Shoe awards in history.
2021: “South American Champion” commemorates Messi being the top scorer in Argentina’s Copa America victory is celebrated in the seventh ring. It recognises his impact on the international stage.
2023: “Argentina World Champion” is the eighth and final ring featuring three stars highlighting Argentina’s victory in the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Adidas alongside the gifts posted a video of Messi on their social media with the caption: “The greatest as we’ve told you again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again.”