Lionel Messi has admitted that watching Cristiano Ronaldo lift the Ballon d’Or two years ago “hurt” him.
Barcelona superstar Messi picked up his sixth Ballon d’Or award last night in Paris after pipping Virgil van Dijk to the gong – with Ronaldo coming a distant third.
The victory puts Messi above rival Cristiano Ronaldo outright in the all-time record books having been locked on five apiece for two years.
Messi had reached the five trophy milestone first, before Ronaldo won in 2016 and 2017 – and the Argentine has revealed that he was upset to watch the Juventus ace catch-up.
“On the one hand, I appreciated having five and being the only one to do so,” Messi said.
“When Cristiano levelled me, I have to admit that it hurt me a bit. I was no longer alone at the summit. But it was logical, even if it is nice when you are alone on five.”
As well as his record Ballon d’Or haul, Messi has won 10 La Liga titles, four European Cups, three UEFA Super Cups and the Copa del Rey six times, along with a huge haul of individual awards.
The 32-year-old insists his sixth Ballon d’Or will not be the crowning achievement of his glittering career – but rather a stepping stone to more success.
“I’m going to enjoy this with my family, because those times when it’s possible to do it do not last long,” he said after being presented with the Ballon d’Or at Monday night’s ceremony in Paris.
“Tomorrow we will have to focus again on other objectives.
“I am already focused on the future. This gives me great pride, it gives me a lot of strength to continue my work.
“To the journalists and my colleagues with whom I win and lose, I remember my first Ballon D’Or in Paris, when I arrived with my brothers – now I pick up the sixth, and this was absolutely unthinkable.
“I never stopped dreaming and enjoying football like when I was a child.
“I hope I have more years to enjoy, although I am aware of how old I am, everything happens very quickly and I know that the moment of withdrawal (retirement) is approaching.”