The year 2014 was filled with disappointments for Lionel Messi but the Argentine legend has absolutely turned it around this year. Three major silverwares with Barcelona and a fantastic performance with the national team in Copa America have made Messi the favorite to win the Ballon d’Or in 2016.
The Barca ace came within touching distance of lifting the World Cup in July last year. Prior to the grand finale in Brazil, Messi had iterated that he’d give up the Ballon d’Or for the World Cup trophy.
“I would give all my personal records to be world champion,” Messi had told German tabloid Bild ahead of the final. “I’d prefer to win the World Cup than the Ballon d’Or. As a player, winning the World Cup is the biggest thing there is. It’s something you dream of as a youngster and that dream never fades away.”
Argentina fought hard but Mario Gotze’s extra-time winner allowed the Germans to lift the gold. After losing to Germany in the final the Argentine skipper was inconsolable.
“I don’t care about the prize [Golden Ball]. I don’t care about anything. Right now, nothing can console me — not the award or anything else,” Messi said. “I wanted to take Argentina to the World Cup for all the people.
He added: “I believe this World Cup deserved another final because we had chances. We reached the final… but we’re disappointed not to have won this game. There’s a lot of anger.”
The Copa America win in Chile might subside that anger a bit. They face the hosts Chile on July 4th at the Estadio Nacional in Santiago. Messi would certainly want to keep his determination alive as the World Cup is still three years away. The diminutive Argentine would certainly want to end his career after being crowned a World champion. For now, he’ll have to find satisfaction with the Ballon d’Or trophy. Performance wise, only Cristiano Ronaldo is in the competition with the Barcelona stalwart but in terms of silverwares, the Portuguese forward can’t compete with Messi this year.
In all competitions last season, Leo netted 58 goals in 57 appearances for the Catalan giants Barcelona. Although, he falls short of Ronaldo’s tally of 61 goals in only 54 games. But Messi is quite ahead of the Real Madrid star when we consider other stats such as assists. Messi bagged a total of 28 assists in contrast to Ronaldo’s 22.
Leo Messi has already lifted the award four times, which is a record in itself. At this point, it seems his fifth win is inevitable. The 28-year-old is already being dubbed as one of the greatest players of all time and it is quite likely that he might rule at the top for a few more years.
Born in Rosario, Argentina, Messi has made his countrymen proud on many previous occasions but he’s dying to win a major trophy in the blue and white jersey of Argentina. It has been an incredible year for Messi and the Copa America win would be a cherry on the top.
Until and unless Messi has a terrible next six months on the pitch and Ronaldo pulls more rabbits from the hat, there doesn’t seem to be any reason explaining why Messi won’t win the ‘World Player of the Year 2015’.