​Barcelona forward Lionel Messi has admitted he is truly honoured to have won a record-breaking sixth Ballon d'Or.

The Argentina international fought off competition from Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk to take home the prize in Paris on Monday.

Speaking at the ceremony, ​Messi insisted that this was one of the most special awards he has ever received, and he was eager to thank everyone who made it possible for him.

"It's very special," he acknowledged, as quoted by Marca"I'm in a certain part of my life where I'm enjoying it both on and off the pitch. With my family, with my children, so I'm happy for this recognition.

"I remember that for my first Ballon d'Or, I came to Paris at 22 years of age with my three brothers. It was something incredible.

"Now, ten years later, I am at a different time, a very special time in my personal life with my wife and three children, who accompany me along with my brother and my nephew.

Club Atletico de Madrid v FC Barcelona  - La Liga

"As my wife said in her [video] message, in all this time I never stopped dreaming, of always wanting to grow, of continuing to improve day by day and especially enjoying football."

In his speech, he also admitted that his playing days were inevitably going to come to an end in the future, but the 32-year-old insisted that he will remain loyal to ​Barcelona for the rest of his life, regardless of how much time he has on his contract.

"Thank God I can do what I love since I was one or two years old and, God willing, I will have several more years of enjoying [football]," he added. 

"I am aware of how old I am and these moments are much more enjoyable because retirement is approaching and it is difficult to repeat it.

Lionel Messi

"Although I have several more years left, at the moment it seems that time flies and everything happens very fast. I hope to continue enjoying football, my family, my rivals and this life that I have.

"The people at the club know me. They know there's no problem beyond what the contract says. What I feel for this club goes beyond any signature or any role. So there isn't a problem."

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