Messi hailed a "king" for sticking up for wife at Ballon dOr in loyal footage

Lionel Messi has been hailed a "king" and "an absolute gentleman" after footage emerged of him defending his wife during the Ballon d'Or ceremony in Paris on Monday night.

The Paris Saint Germain forward secured a record seventh Ballon d'Or win, pipping Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski and Chelsea's Jorginho to first place.

Earlier in the evening, the 34-year-old had arrived with his wife Antonella and their three sons, Thiago, Mateo and Ciro.

On their way into the ceremony, the family posed for a few photos before a France Football director asks Antonella and the boys to step aside so photographers could get a shot of Messi by himself.

To his credit, the Argentine superstar refuses and asks his wife to come back and stand by his side.

"His face is like 'don't tell my wife what to do'! Don't mess with King Leo," one fan wrote.

Another wrote: "Telling Antonella what do right in front of Messi??? That's his wife right there not his girlfriend!"

"What an absolute gentleman Messi is. Standing by his wife. Class," said another.

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Messi was favourite to win the Ballon d'Or heading into the event after finally ending his wait for an international trophy in 2021, winning the Copa America with Argentina.

He also finished as the La Liga top goalscorer last season and scored a brace in the Copa del Rey final for Barcelona, but his slow start to life with Paris Saint-Germain had cast doubts over his chances.

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Polish striker Lewandowski, 33, was the top candidate for last year's award before the ceremony was cancelled due to Covid-19.

During his acceptance speech, Messi urged France Football to retroactively award Lewandowski the 2020 Ballon d'Or.

Messi's win adds to the awards he won in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2019.

Elsewhere, Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema and Chelsea' N'Golo Kante completed this year's top five, while Cristiano Ronaldo's sixth-place finish was his worst for over a decade.

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