Barcelona and Argentina superstar Lionel Messi described his record fifth Ballon d'Or as a "very special moment" after receiving the iconic trophy at FIFA's annual Gala in Zurich, Switzerland.

Mess took received just over 41% of the vote from national team captains, coaches and selected journalists, to finish ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar, to claim his first gong in since the 2012 ceremony.

"It's a very special moment for me to be back here on this stage winning again, after being there in the audience watching as Cristiano won for two years," he told the media afterwards.

No player in history even has four Ballon d'Or titles to their name. Ronaldo only has three to his name by comparison, as do legends Johan Cruyff, Michel Platini and Marco van Basten.

"It's incredible that it's my fifth. Much more than anything I would have dreamed of as a kid," Messi went on to say.


"I want to thank everyone who voted and my teammates, for without them none of this would ever have been possible. I also want to thank football for everything it has brought me, both bad and good. It has made me grow and learn, always."

But for all his individual success, Messi is still yet to really make his mark on the international stage. The 28-year-old has never won a senior final with Argentina and the World Cup is the major prize that still eludes him.

Before the ceremony, he was actually asked if would prefer to win the fifth title of trade them all for one World Cup triumph. The answer: "The World Cup, of course. Team awards are more important than individual ones."

Barcelona team-mate Neymar came third in the proceedings, much to the disappointment of Dani Alves, who thought the 23-year-old deserved to be second.


Alves, who was selected in the FIFPro World XI, commented, "It surprised me, but they cry when I say these things and speak my mind. When Leo stops winning it, it'll be Neymar."

Asked if Messi had given him any advice to improve his chances of taking home a Ballon d'Or in the future, Neymar simply joked, " Yeah, play better."

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