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Messi: Ballon d'Or is a beautiful recognition

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While talking up his team-mates, the Argentine star admitted that the individual award is a special honour
Barcelona star Lionel Messi talked up the significance of the Ballon d'Or, but said even the individual award came down to team success.

Messi, 32, is a five-time winner of the prize, claiming it in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015.

Only Cristiano Ronaldo has won the award as many times and Messi said it was a huge honour, although he acknowledged his team-mates were key to his success.

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"It is a beautiful recognition and perhaps the most special was the first," he told Otro.

"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 will again be among the favourites to win the Ballon d'Or this year, having enjoyed a fine 2019 for Barcelona.

The Argentine scored a remarkable 51 goals in all competitions for Barcelona in 2018-19, as the club secured the La Liga title while falling short in the Champions League and Copa del Rey.

After an injury-plagued start to the 2019-20 season, Messi has begun to round into form, having netted nine times in all competitions for the Blaugrana thus far.

As he chases a sixth Ballon d'Or, Messi looked back on his second trophy fondly.

Messi said that the 2010 Ballon d'Or is among his favourites after he claimed the honour ahead of team-mates Andres Iniesta and Xavi in a Barcelona clean sweep.

"The image of the three nominees for the Ballon d'Or, it was special for us because of the friendship we have," he said.

"Being so long in the same club, all three living practically the same during our whole careers and special for the club.

"For what it means, the truth, it was impressive."

Article continues below
Barcelona, who are top of La Liga, return to action with a trip to Leganes on Saturday.

The Blaugrana follow that match up with a Champions League encounter against Borussia Dortmund four days later.

Barcelona lead Dortmund by a point atop Champions League Group F, with Inter in third place sitting four points back of the Blaugrana.

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