Sport

How Lionel Messi Won the Incredible Ballon d’Or in SEVEN

LIONEL MESSI boasts more Ballon d’Or titles than anyone else in football – including arch-rival Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Argentinian, 34, has won the most prestigious individual title in football SEVEN visits to five Manchester United stars after 2021 victory.

Lionel Messi touches the seventh Ballon d'Or crown at the 2021 ceremony

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Lionel Messi touches the seventh Ballon d’Or crown at the 2021 ceremonyCredit: AFP
Lionel Messi has won six Ballon d'Or, five ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo, before winning the 2021 award

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Lionel Messi has won six Ballon d’Or, five ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo, before winning the 2021 awardCredit: AFP or licensors

On that basis alone, many believe that Messi is the true GOAT of the sport.

But how did the former Barcelona wizard – now at Paris Saint-Germain – win his incredible seven crowns?

We review …

1. 2009

Messi got his first Ballon d’Or a year after his old rival Cristiano Ronaldo won.

The Argentinian was in sensational form in the run-up to the awards ceremony.

Messi helped Barcelona win the sensational La Liga-Champions League-Copa del Rey title TREBLE in 2008-09.

He also played a key role in the team’s league championship, the Supercopa de Espana, the Super Cup and the 2009 Club World Cup.

Messi scored 38 goals in all competitions during the 2008-09 season, before scoring 47 the following season.

In 2009, Messi accumulated 473 points to win the Ballon d’Or title ahead of Ronaldo – who had left Manchester United for Real Madrid earlier that year – with just 233.

Argentine club teammate Xavi (170) finished the top three.

Messi won his first Ballon d'Or in 2009, a year after Ronaldo made his game debut

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Messi won his first Ballon d’Or in 2009, a year after Ronaldo made his game debutCredit: AFP – Getty

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2. 2010

Messi made it twice in a row in 2010 after winning the Ballon d'Or in a row

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Messi made it twice in a row in 2010 after winning the Ballon d’Or in a rowCredit: Getty – Contributor

A year later, Messi got No2 to surpass Ronaldo.

Barcelona once again won the La Liga title in the 2009-10 season, with Messi’s 34 goals in just 35 games that season playing a huge role.

The Spanish giants also won the Supercopa de Espana during that term.

And that was Barca’s double at the 2010 Ballon d’Or awards.

Messi (22.65% of the vote) surpassed Andres Iniesta (17.36%) and Xavi (16.48%).

Meanwhile, Ronaldo ranked sixth with only 3.92% of the vote, behind Wesley Sneijder (14.48%) and Diego Forlan (7.61%).

3. 2011

Messi wore a burgundy suit as he won his third consecutive Ballon d'Or in 2011

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Messi wore a burgundy suit as he won his third consecutive Ballon d’Or in 2011Credit: EPA

MESSI scored a hat-trick just 12 months after he won his third consecutive Ballon d’Or in 2011.

Barcelona won YEAR trophies in 2011, including another LaLiga championship and the Champions League.

Messi scored 53 goals in just 55 games in all competitions between 2010-11 – and started the next campaign in even hotter form.. but then much more.

The Argentine won his third Ballon d’Or with 47.88% of the vote.

Ronaldo is second with 21.6%, ahead of Xavi (9.23%).

4. 2012

Messi celebrated his fourth consecutive Ballon d'Or by winning over in 2012

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Messi celebrated his fourth consecutive Ballon d’Or by winning over in 2012Credit: Getty Images – Getty

The Barca logo makes it amazing FOUR consecutively in 2012 after a simple competition year of football.

In 2011-12, Messi was untouchable – scoring 73 goals in just 60 games in all competitions.

Somehow, Barcelona was still beaten by Real Madrid’s Centurions to win LaLiga that season.

But Messi advanced to the 2012 Ballon d’Or title with 41.6% of the vote, ahead of Ronaldo (23.68%) and Iniesta (10.91%).

5. 2015

Messi won back the Ballon d'Or from Ronaldo to become number 5 in 2015

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Messi won back the Ballon d’Or from Ronaldo to become number 5 in 2015Credit: AFP

RONALDO started to close the gap by beating Messi to win the Ballon d’Or in 2013 and 2014 – with the Argentinian runner-up both years.

But Messi returned to the top in 2015 – his fifth crowning – after helping Barcelona achieve another incredible Treble.

Barca won La Liga, the Champions League and the Copa del Rey in 2014-15 – before winning the Super Cup and Club World Cup later that year.

Messi scored 43 goals, playing in all 38 of the team’s games that season to claim the Ballon d’Or crown with 41.33% of the vote.

Ronaldo, this time, was forced to come in second with 27.76%, ahead of third-placed Neymar (7.86%).

6. 2019

Messi won the record-breaking sixth Ballon d'Or in 2019

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Messi won the record-breaking sixth Ballon d’Or in 2019Credit: AFP or licensors

MESSI has seen Ronaldo achieve five Ballon d’Or each in the years leading up to 2019.

Ronaldo won both the awards in 2016 and 2017, while Messi finished second both years, before Luka Modric won the gong in 2018.

But Messi ensured Ronaldo didn’t re-take the lead by edging past Virgil van Dijk for the award by dropping the closest throw-in.

The Argentinian picked up 686 points, with the Liverpool defender just behind with 679 – before being trailed by Ronaldo in third with 476 points.

Messi has scored 51 goals in 50 games in all competitions between 2018-19 – including more than one goal per game in La Liga as Barcelona won the title.

7. 2021

Lionel Messi has won seven Ballon d'Or in 2021 - 12 years after winning his first award

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Lionel Messi has won seven Ballon d’Or in 2021 – 12 years after winning his first awardCredit: AFP

MANY of football’s top players have had a horrible year, with Jorginho and Robert Lewandowski highly rated.

Jorginho helped Chelsea win the Champions League and Italy crowned Euro 2020, while Lewandowski couldn’t stop scoring for Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich – after missing out on the aborted award last year.

But Messi held up, even though Barcelona only won the Copa del Rey in 2020-21.

The winger eventually won his first international title while leading Argentina to the Copa America.

And Messi’s impact at Barcelona was only really appreciated after he left to join PSG in the summer, with his former club struggling a lot without him.

Barca finished third in La Liga last season, just seven points behind champions Atletico Madrid.

Messi has scored 30 goals in 35 league games to get them to that stage, while club Nou Camp drop to seventh without him this term.

Read ours Live blog football news for the latest rumors, gossip and deals done

Ballon d’Or nominees including Messi, Ronaldo and De Bruyne show off their coaching skills

https://www.the-sun.com/sport/premier-league/4169433/lionel-messi-seven-ballons-dor-cristiano-ronaldo/ How Lionel Messi Won the Incredible Ballon d’Or in SEVEN

Huynh Nguyen

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