The diminutive Argentine has capped the incredible year with Barcelona with the 2015 Ballon d’Or. Messi inspired the Catalan giants to win five major trophies 2015, and he was certainly the most influential player in the treble winning side.
The 28-year-old bagged 52 goals and 26 assists in 61 appearances for club and country. He received a total of 41.33 percent of the votes followed by Cristiano Ronaldo who got 27.76 percent votes, and the Brazilian forward Neymar came third after receiving 7.86 percent votes.
“It’s a very special moment for me, to be back here on this stage winning another Ballon d’Or after being in the audience watching Cristiano win for two years,” Messi said upon receiving his award.
“It’s incredible that it’s my fifth, it’s much more than anything I dreamed of as a kid.
“I want to thank all those who voted for me first of all. I also want to thank obviously my team-mates, as I always say without them none of this would ever have been possible.
“And lastly, I want to thank football for everything it has brought me – both the bad and the good – because it has made me grow and learn always.”
Prior to the award ceremony in Zurich, Messi claimed that he’d rather win a World Cup than five Ballon d’Or awards.
“I would prefer to win a World Cup rather than five Ballons d’Or if I had to choose,” Messi said at the news conference prior to the Ballon d’Or ceremony.
“I have always said that I prefer team achievements, and the World Cup is the biggest trophy out there.”
Messi won his first FIFA Ballon d’Or in 2009 after winning Barca’s first historic treble. He was crowned the best player in the world for the next three occasions too until Ronaldo regained the trophy in 2013. The Portuguese ace led Real Madrid to their tenth Champions League trophy in 2014 for which he was again awarded the Ballon d’Or in January 2014 taking his combined tally to three Ballon d’Or wins.
Messi, however, didn’t win the Puskas award despite his incredible solo goal against Atheltic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey last year. It came as a shock to many as an unknown Brazilian player, Wendell Lira, won the award ahead of Roma’s Alessandro Florenzi and Barcelona’s Lionel Messi.
It was one of the biggest upsets of the night as most betting websites had tipped the Argentinean skipper to pick up the award for both the best player and the best goal of 2015.
‘It is an honour to be here to get to know famous players I’ve only seen on the screen before,’ Lira said in accepting the award. ‘I thank my family and all those who voted for me. I should like to thank my wife and my daughter.’
Wendell Lira got 46.7% votes while Messi and Florenzi received 33.3% and 7.1% respectively.