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Messi has won the three last Ballon d'Or
When Cristiano Ronaldo moved to Real Madrid from Manchester United in 2009 he was a man on a mission. In 2008 he had dominated the world football stage, receiving the Ballon d’Or and catapulting Manchester United to a Premier League-UCL double.
But 2009 was Lionel Messi’s year, and the little Argentine wrestled both Ballon d’Or and Champions League medal from Ronaldo.
When the Portuguese star signed for Real Madrid as the main symbol of a new Galactico era, on a personal level it meant he wanted to compete directly with Lionel Messi. By playing in the same league, for the archrivals of Barcelona, Ronaldo wanted to end the debate of who was the best player once and for all.
In many ways the debate has ended. Only not with the outcome the Portuguese wished.
Messi went on to win two more successive Ballon d’Ors, and looks well on track to win a historic fourth. For every record Ronaldo broke with Real Madrid, Messi would break two. The constant reminder that there is a better player in the same league may well have become unbearable for the Portuguese; he may think putting some distance between him and Messi by changing leagues could be a solution.