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Lionel Messi Should Have Won Every Ballon d'Or Since 2009, Says Gerard Pique

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistNovember 7, 2016

BARCELONA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 15:  Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona celebrates scoring his team's fourth goal with his teammate Gerard Pique during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and RC Deportivo de La Coruna at Camp Nou stadium on October 15, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images)
Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

Barcelona star Gerard Pique believes team-mate Lionel Messi has deserved to win the Ballon d'Or every year since 2009.

Pique tweeted as much after watching the Argentinian bag a goal and an assist as he led Barca to a 2-1 victory over Sevilla in La Liga on Sunday:

Gerard Piqué @3gerardpique

Si el Balón de Oro se diera al mejor jugador del mundo, Leo lo tendría que haber ganado cada año desde el 2009. Otro nivel.

Per Sport, he wrote: "If the Ballon d'Or was given to the best player in the world, Leo would have won it every year since 2009. Another level."

Messi won the gong four years running from 2009 and landed it again in 2015, with Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo picking up the award in 2013 and 2014.

After Sergi Roberto's error allowed Vitolo to take the lead for Sevilla, Messi inspired his side's comeback and found the equaliser shortly before half-time, per Sky Sports La Liga:

Sky Sports LaLiga @SkyRevista

WATCH: Lionel Messi starts and finishes the move. He delivers. Sevilla v Barcelona is on SS1 https://t.co/YcKVYDlOYW https://t.co/GXgUSO825a

The 29-year-old then played a vital role in setting up Luis Suarez for the Blaugrana's winner as he ran Sevilla ragged in the second half:

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Match of the Day host Gary Lineker and the Guardian's Sid Lowe were among many to praise Messi after the game:

Gary Lineker @GaryLineker

Messi is joyous.

Sid Lowe @sidlowe

Even by his standards, that was an absurd performance from Messi in the seconds of.

In regards to the Ballon d'Or, Sevilla boss Jorge Sampaoli would take it one step further than Pique, per football journalist Rafael Hernandez:

Rafael Hernández @RafaelH117

Sampaoli: “We should have two Golden Balls every season, one for Messi and one for the rest.”

Indeed, if not for Ronaldo, Messi would surely have won the award virtually uncontested every year, though the likes of Luis Suarez, Manuel Neuer and Andres Iniesta among others have perhaps not had the recognition they deserve because of the Portuguese and Argentinian's dominance of the award.

Ronaldo will be Messi's biggest rival for the award yet again come January. The former will perhaps be the favourite thanks to Real Madrid's UEFA Champions League success and Portugal's UEFA Euro 2016 victory, though Messi did help Barca win La Liga and the Copa del Rey.

Here's a look at how the pair's numbers are shaping up this year and how they've compared in the past:

Messi vs. Ronaldo Club and Country Stats 2009-2016
Messi AssistsMessi GoalsRonaldo GoalsRonaldo Assists
20091541304
201017604817
201136596016
201222916314
201316456917
201422586120
201526525717
201630514416
Transfermarkt

Goal and assist tallies aren't everything, of course—what should matter most is the quality of play on the pitch, and in that regard, Messi has arguably been better than Ronaldo not only this year, but for some time.

The Real superstar is a phenomenal player and a magnificent goalscorer, but in recent years, he's not been as influential as Messi in terms of dominating games and making his team tick.

Whereas Ronaldo has evolved from a speedy, skilful winger who used to terrorise defenders into a poacher whose best moments come inside the penalty box, Messi has become a complete player in the final third—his almost unrivalled vision, passing and dribbling allow him to control and change games even without getting on the scoresheet.

Ultimately, it is the pair's respective trophy cabinets and the incredible performances they produced more than the number of individual awards they picked up that will dictate how they're remembered.

As such, the pair will rightfully go down as two of the best to ever play the game when they hang up their boots.

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