Like many of the years that preceded it, 2015 was the year of Lionel Messi.
FIFA announced on Monday that the Barcelona and Argentina star has been recognized with his fifth Ballon d’Or. Messi, who claimed the award four straight times from 2009-12, received 41.33% of votes to top 2014 and 2015 winner Cristiano Ronaldo (27.76%) as well as Barcelona teammate Neymar (7.86%).
“It is a very special moment for me to be back here on this stage,” Messi said, “winning again another Ballon d’Or after being there in the audience watching Cristiano win. It’s incredible this is my fifth. It’s much more than anything I’ve dreamed of as a kid.
“I want to thank everyone who voted for me and I want to thank my teammates. And lastly, I want to thank football in general for everything it has brought me. Both the bad and the good. Because it has made me learn and grow.”
Messi’s 2015 was one with littered with trophies, as Barcelona claimed the La Liga crown, the Copa del Rey, the UEFA Champions League, the UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup. En route, Messi contributed 43 goals, good for second in La Liga, while leading the league with 21 assists. In addition, Messi led the way for Argentina, as the La Albiceleste claimed second place at the Copa America in Chile.
Along with Ronaldo and Neymar, Messi also spearheads the forward portion of the FIFPro World XI, which was also released at Monday’s Ballon d’Or Gala. Here’s a closer look at this season’s team:
What do you think of Messi’s award? Was he the best player in the world in 2015? Any snubs for the World XI?
Share your thoughts below.