Lionel Messi won a record-breaking sixth Ballon d’Or on Monday after another sublime year for the Argentinian, whose familiar brilliance remained undimmed even through difficult times for club and country.
Despite Barcelona’s collapse at the end of last season and Argentina losing to Brazil in the semi-finals of the Copa America, Messi’s genius was ever present in 2019, for which he now stands alone in the history of the game’s most prestigious individual prize.
In 54 appearances this year, Messi has managed an astonishing 46 goals and 17 assists while for Barca alone he hit 41 goals and 15 assists in 44 matches, which included seven doubles and three hat-tricks.
Ballon d’Or winners since 2007
|2007||Kaka||Cristiano Ronaldo||Lionel Messi|
|2008||Cristiano Ronaldo||Lionel Messi||Fernando Torres|
|2009||Lionel Messi||Cristiano Ronaldo||Xavi|
|2010||Lionel Messi||Andrés Iniesta||Xavi|
|2011||Lionel Messi||Cristiano Ronaldo||Xavi|
|2012||Lionel Messi||Cristiano Ronaldo||Andrés Iniesta|
|2013||Cristiano Ronaldo||Lionel Messi||Franck Ribéry|
|2014||Cristiano Ronaldo||Lionel Messi||Manuel Neuer|
|2015||Lionel Messi||Cristiano Ronaldo||Neymar|
|2016||Cristiano Ronaldo||Lionel Messi||Antoine Griezmann|
|2017||Cristiano Ronaldo||Lionel Messi||Neymar|
|2018||Luka Modrić||Cristiano Ronaldo||Antoine Griezmann|
|2019||Lionel Messi||Virgil van Dijk||Cristiano Ronaldo|
Four years after his last Ballon d’Or, Messi pulled clear of the five next to the name of Cristiano Ronaldo, and now owns twice as many as Johan Cruyff, Michel Platini and Marco van Basten.
Messi at Ballon d'or
|Player||Winner||Second Place||Third Place|
|Lionel Messi||6 (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019)||5 (2008, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017)||1 (2007)|
|Cristiano Ronaldo||5 (2008, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017)||6 (2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2018)|| 1 (2019)|
|Michel Platini||3 (1983, 1984, 1985)||-||2 (1977, 1980)|
|Johan Cruyff||3 (1971, 1973, 1974)||-||1 (1975)|
|Marco van Basten||3 (1988, 1989, 1992)||-||-|
Barcelona insist they have plans for coping with Messi’s dreaded retirement but the truth is their number 10 will be irreplaceable.
They know that; we know that and the world knows that.