La Liga: Lionel Messi becomes new Ballon d’Or winner

Written by R irector D.Ben Borland

Lionel Messi is the first player to win the FIFA Ballon d’Or seven times. The Argentine forward topped a poll conducted by France Football magazine’s 38 club experts.

Messi finished ahead of Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo and fellow Barcelona teammates Neymar, Luis Suarez and Luis Enrique.

Messi’s victory ends a six-year spell without a winner for Ronaldo and Suarez — an astonishing period during which Messi’s performances only got better.

The 29-year-old scored 81 goals in 60 league games for Barcelona in 2015-16, doubling his tally from the previous season.

Only Ballon d’Or winner Messi has scored more goals than

Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski, who has seven Ballon d’Or winners

last year.

In January Messi’s international coach at Argentina, Jorge Sampaoli, said: “People from Argentina have always got frustrated with his lack of trophies (at Barcelona).

“He isn’t in Europe, he comes from Argentina where they have lower expectations, a more modest set of requirements.

“But then again, not many national team players play as much as Messi. We had to try to assess his type of player: He’s simply the best in the world in the position.”

Messi’s feat is the joint second best in the history of the Ballon d’Or, joining Gerd Muller, whose eight wins between 1974 and 1974 topped the list.

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