This win puts him one Ballon ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo, at five, and gives the diminutive Argentine twice as many trophies as Johan Cruyff, Marco van Basten, and Michel Platini. In the Best category, it also puts him one ahead of Ronaldo and gives him twice as many as Zinedine Zidane and Ronaldo Nazario de Lima.
The Barcelona ace had a great year, last year, with 54 goals scored and a La Liga trophy won. The Copa del Rey, Champions League, and Copa America, though, eluded him. But enough prize voters felt he played well enough to be among the top three in contention together with Ronaldo, and Virgil van Dijk, the Best European Player this year.
The GOAT debate is thus given a little nudge in Messi’s direction, while Ronaldo and Messi can be seen as tied in another category, listed among the top three in the world in eleven of the past twelve awards given. Messi at 32 and Ronaldo at 34 have another handful of playing years ahead of them, but the 2020 Euro for Ronnie and the made-for-him-to-win 2020 Copa America for Lionel, seem the last best chances for each in major international glory in the foreseeable future. But, don’t rule out seeing a 35-year-old Messi and a 37-year-old Ronaldo shuffling into Qatar in December 2022.
The current UEFA Champions League, now firmly in the 2019-20 season in most voters’ eyes, sees both stars still in the hunt at a time when Messi’s Barca is top of La Liga and Ronaldo’s Juventus is tops at Serie A. This year, Messi is at nine goals and five assists in La Liga while Ronaldo is at six and one respectively in Serie A. In the Champions League Messi is at two goals and three assists while Ronaldo is at two goals and one assist. Unless someone else begins to have an incredible year real soon, and sustains it for several months, we will be back to pitting these two against one another come next award season.