Lionel Messi wins FIFA Ballon d’Or for fifth time

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Lionel Messi has won the FIFA Ballon d’Or for a record fifth time for his outstanding achievements in 2015 at an awards ceremony in Zurich’s Kongresshaus.

The Barcelona forward was rewarded with the title of football’s best player over the past year having scored 52 goals in 61 games to help Barcelona claim a 23rd Spanish title, the Spanish Cup, Champions League, European Super Cup and World Club Cup last month.

His latest success denied Real Madrid‘s Cristiano Ronaldo a third straight win and a fourth overall after the Portuguese striker’s gongs in 2008, 2013 and 2014.

Messi commanded 41.33 per cent of all votes ahead of Ronaldo on 27.76 per cent with Neymar a distant third on 7.86 per cent. The three nominees are voted for by captains and head coaches of over 200 FIFA member associations and international media.

“It is a very special moment for me to be back here on this stage, winning again another Ballon d’Or after being there in the audience watching Cristiano (Ronaldo) win,” said Messi.

“It’s incredible this is my fifth. It’s much more than anything I’ve dreamed of as a kid. I want to thank everyone who voted for me and I want to thank my team-mates. “

“And lastly, I want to thank football in general for everything it has brought me. Both the bad and the good. Because it has made me learn and grow.”

Messi adds the 2015 Ballon d’Or to his successes in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. He has also been among the final three nominees nine times.

Host James Nesbitt takes a selfie on stage at the FIFA Ballon d'Or awards ceremony in Zurich.
Host James Nesbitt takes a selfie on stage at the FIFA Ballon d’Or awards ceremony in Zurich. – Reuters

Ronaldo scored more goals than Messi with 57 goals in 57 games compared with 52 from Messi in 61 games while Brazilian Neymar scored 45 goals in 62 matches.

But Messi’s contribution to Barcelona’s dominance probably helped Messi win his first Ballon in three years. Here are his stunning stats:

  • Messi scored 34 times in 33 Liga matches in 2015
  • His minute-per-goals rate of 80 was the best of any player in Europe’s top five divisions
  • His 15 assists saw him involved in 49 Liga goals – joint-top alongside Ronaldo in Europe’s elite leagues
  • Messi reached 49 in 652 minutes less than Ronaldo
  • Helped Argentina reached the Copa America final 

The Argentina forward, still only 28, formed a magnificent attacking triumvirate alongside fellow Ballon d’Or nominee Neymar and Luis Suarez – which scored 180 goals between them over the past 12 months, more than any other attacking trio in history – as Luis Enrique‘s all-conquering side plundered five trophies in the calendar year.

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