Lionel Messi Says Ballon d'Or Is 'Beautiful Recognition,' Credits Barcelona Team

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistNovember 23, 2019

BARCELONA, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 09: Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona in action during the Liga match between FC Barcelona  and RC Celta de Vigo at Camp Nou on November 09, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Barcelona talisman Lionel Messi has credited his team-mates with his Ballon d'Or success over the years as he targets his sixth award.

The Argentinian will be among the front-runners for the gong when it is handed out on December 2 in Paris. 

Messi told YouTube channel Otro (h/t Goal's Dejan Kalinic) of the Ballon d'Or: "It is a beautiful recognition, and perhaps the most special was the first. It is something that comes from the collective. Without having achieved all the collective successes that we had to achieve, I wouldn't have been able to get these individual awards."

Messi's five Ballon d'Or wins is a record shared by Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo, but the 32-year-old has not won it since 2015.

He initially won the award four years running between 2009 and 2012, and he's one of four Barca players in contention for the men's award, while Lieke Martens is nominated for the women's Ballon d'Or:

The Argentinian has once again operated at a high level in 2019, in which he has scored 39 goals and provided 14 assists for Barcelona.

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His efforts helped them win La Liga last season, as well as reach the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League and the final of the Copa del Rey.

This season, Barca are top of the table on goal difference after 12 matches and first in their Champions League group ahead of Borussia Dortmund, Inter Milan and Slavia Prague after four games.

On the international stage, he has scored five goals and assisted two for Argentina, with whom he finished third at the Copa America in the summer.

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk—who won the Champions League with the Reds and helped them finish on 97 points in the Premier League last season—will be among his biggest rivals.

The Dutchman beat Messi to the UEFA Men's Player of the Year award in August, but Messi beat him to FIFA's The Best Men's Player Award in September.

Cristiano Ronaldo is another perennial contender. He won Serie A with Juventus last season and the UEFA Nations League with Portugal, with whom he has netted 14 goals in 2019.

The 34-year-old hasn't enjoyed the best of campaigns this season, though, despite contributing six goals and two assists for the Bianconeri.

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