Yesterday it was announced that Lionel Messi, captain of the Barcelona football club, was selected to receive his sixth Ballon d’OR award (Soccer MVP) in Paris — making a new record.
While Messi may make it seem easy to win this award, he still faced fierce competition. Runner-up candidates this year were Reds forward Said Mane, Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk, and the Portuguese sensation Cristiano Ronaldo of the Jueventus F.C.
It is one thing to win one Ballon d’Or award, but it is another to win six. Lionel Messi has won the award six times and currently has no motive for retirement. According to MARCA, Messi makes more money than any other athlete in the world — by bringing in a $127 million salary. To really put this into focus, his salary much higher than the next highest paid athletes in the world: Cristiano Ronaldo, second on the list, makes $109 million a year. Neymar, third on the list, makes $105 million. Fighter Canelo Alvarez racks in $94 million a year. Tennis legend Roger Federer, ranked fifth, makes $93.4 million a year. The point is, Leo Messi is making unfathomable amounts of money to continue playing the game he loves. Since he probably won’t retire soon, there is a big possibility that he will win at least another award.
The debate about who the best soccer player of all time has generally involved two candidates: Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. The debate used to be stronger because both Messi and Ronaldo had won five Ballon d’Or awards — moving to the idea that both were competing at the same level. Now that they are not tied, the favor of the argument stands with Leo.
Lionel Messi’s numbers speak for themselves. Below are all of his stats throughout his career:
It’s hard to say what the future of the Ballon d’Or award will hold. Most likely, there will be two possibilities:
1. Leo wins the award again because of his incredible talent.
.2. Cristiano Ronaldo gets frustrated at the past chain of events and uses his anger as motivation to become a more competitive soccer player. If he were to win next year, there would be a tie between him and Messi again. But that all supposes that he doesn’t lack the competitive drive to change old habits and adapt to this next year of soccer — which will be a fun one to watch.
Van Dijk, a runner up for this year’s award, gave told the Guardian’s John Brewin the following after he learned that Messi had won:
“I had a great season, but sometimes you come up against players like him [Messi], who are a bit unnatural,” he said. “Six Ballon d’Ors, you gotta respect greatness.”