Argentina star and Barcelona forward Lionel Messi, who bagged his world-record sixth Ballon d’Or in Paris on Monday night, revealed that it did hurt him when his arch-rival Cristiano Ronaldo won the 2017 Golden Ball of France, which was the Portuguese’s fifth award.
It is after four years that Messi has been recognised as the finest player on the planet. During this span, Ronaldo won the award in 2016 and 2017 taking his total tally to five.
Appreciating the Juventus star, who was in Milan to collect a Serie A Player of the Year prize on Monday rather being in Paris, Messi said that he can understand what emotions former Real Madrid striker would be going through.
“When Cristiano moved level, I admit that it hurt me a bit. I was no longer alone at the top. But it made sense, although it was good when I was alone at five,” Messi told France Football as quoted by goal.
“Was I frustrated in the last few years? Let’s say I understood why I did not win.
“As a team, we had not achieved our major goal, which was to win the Champions League, which gives you more chances to win the Ballon d’Or.”
“When Cristiano Ronaldo won, it is because he had achieved great seasons by winning the Champions League and being decisive. It was deserved, there was not much I could do.”
Notably, Ronaldo finished third in the 2019 vote. It was for the first time since 2011 that the forward failed to make a cut in the final two of Ballon d’Or.