Lula Messi split Getty Images

'Lionel Messi should serve as an example' - Brazil president claims Brazilian players party too much to win the Ballon d'Or

  • Messi hailed as example for players
  • Brazil president praises star
  • No Brazilian Ballon d'Or win since 2007

WHAT HAPPENED? The president ignored the longstanding rivalry between Brazil and Argentina to praise Messi, urging players from his country to look up to the Inter Miami superstar in terms of dedication to his profession and the longevity it produces.

WHAT THEY SAID: "Messi should serve as an example to Brazilian players," Lula commented. "The 36-year-old guy, world champion, with the Ballon d'Or and everything. Messi needs to be an inspiration of dedication for these kids. Anyone who wants to win the Ballon d'Or has to dedicate themselves, they have to be professional. It doesn't go with partying, it doesn't go with a night out."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Messi is widely known for his quiet off-field life, making headlines for football and little else. Meanwhile, no Brazilian footballer has won the Ballon d'Or since Kaka in 2007. Neymar is the one that has come closest in more recent years, finishing third in both 2015 and 2017. But, at 31, and now sidelined with an ACL injury, his chance of breaking the drought is likely gone.

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Lionel Messi wins the 2022/23 Ballon d'OrGetty ImagesLionel Messi Argentina World CupGetty Images

WHAT NEXT FOR MESSI? Not retirement if the man himself has anything to say about it. Although he now doesn't expect to win another Ballon d'Or, the 36-year-old has no intention of hanging up his boots any time soon: "I want to play for a very long time. We'll have to see how I feel physically. I can't give a date. Things change from one day to the next. But I hope it will last a very long time."