Lionel Messi said he had achieved the "unthinkable" after winning the sixth men's Ballon d'Or of his career at a ceremony in Paris on Monday.
After being awarded the prestigious gong by last year's winner Luka Modric, Messi thanked his team-mates, and he also hinted that, at 32 years old, retirement is not too far in his future, per John Brewin of the Guardian:
"Thank you to my colleagues from my club. It's really amazing. Thank you so much. To the journalists and my colleagues with whom I win and lose, I remember my first Ballon d'Or in Paris, when I arrived with my brothers, now I pick up the sixth, and this was absolutely unthinkable.
"I never stopped dreaming and enjoying football like when I was a child. I hope I have more years to enjoy, although I am aware of how old I am, everything happens very quickly and I know that the moment of withdrawal is approaching."
Messi's contribution throughout 2019 has been staggering:
He may not have been able to propel Barca to another UEFA Champions League title after they suffered a humiliating 4-0 semi-final defeat to eventual champions Liverpool at Anfield, but few could begrudge the Argentinian the 2019 Ballon d'Or given his impact on Barca's La Liga title triumph:
Messi's ongoing magnificence was evident once again on Sunday when he scored a sublime late winner against Atletico Madrid to put Barca back to the head of the Spanish top flight.
An injury kept him out of the start of the Blaugrana's 2019-20 campaign, but since his return he has continued his remarkable form, scoring nine goals and providing five assists in nine La Liga appearances.
Messi will have little time to celebrate his latest award as Barcelona are back in action on Saturday when they host Mallorca.