Lionel Messi collected a record fifth Ballon d’Or award on Monday, then revealed he intends to be a one-club man and finish his career with Barcelona.
The Argentine first linked up with the Camp Nou giants in 2001, and progressed to their first team three years later when just 16-years-old. He has gone on to become their all-time leading goalscorer with an incredible 430 goals in 503 appearances in all competitions, and he has played a key role in winning seven league titles and the UEFA Champions League four times.
Messi added the Ballon d’Or to his individual collection for the first time in 2009, then went on to win it in each of the three following years until Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo snatched it from him in both 2013 and 2014. However, the Barcelona star reclaimed the honour in Zurich on Monday, following a season in which his club won a memorable treble.
Should the 28-year-old ever decide to leave Catalonia for a fresh challenge only the richest clubs on the planet could even dream of being able to sign him, and in recent times he has been linked with Manchester City. However, speaking after he pipped Ronaldo and his Camp Nou colleague Neymar to his latest honour, the forward claimed he would never leave Barca.
“I’ve always said that I can’t leave Barcelona,” revealed Messi. “It’s always my response. I want to finish my career at home and my home is Barcelona. Football changes so much. A year ago, we were all getting criticised and we ended up winning nearly everything. My intention is to terminate my career where it started, in Barcelona. I want to keep succeeding with the club.”
Messi has yet to win silverware with the full national side, but in 2015 he inspired the Argentines to the Copa America final where they lost to Chile on penalties. He scored 53 goals in 56 appearances in all competitions for Barcelona, who ended last season with La Liga, Champions League and Copa del Rey success, earning head coach Luis Enrique the Coach of the Year award.
Meanwhile, the FIFA FIFPro World XI was revealed as follows: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich); Thiago Silva (Paris St Germain), Marcelo (Real Madrid), Sergio Ramos, (Real Madrid), Dani Alves (Barcelona); Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Paul Pogba (Juventus); Neymar (Barcelona), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid).