2015 Ballon d'Or: What Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar said at the press conference
All three nominees were questioned by the media ahead of the main event
The hour is almost upon us where the 2015 FIFA Ballon d’Or is presented to one of three players – Lionel Messi, Neymar (both Barcelona) or Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid). With the ceremony a couple of hours away, the three La Liga players were assembled on stage for a press conference. Here’s what they all said.
Messi was first asked which was the greatest moment of his year. “It’s hard to say,” Messi said while laughing.
Barcelona had won five trophies in 2015 – La Liga, Copa del Rey, Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup – and the Argentine had played a crucial part in all titles. Of course, it would understandably be hard to pick just one moment.
He was then asked if he would swap five Ballon d’Or trophies for a FIFA World Cup. He is currently on four wins and the favourite to pick up a fifth tonight.
And Messi picked the World Cup over anything else. “Obviously the World Cup. It’s the maximum. Definitely.”
Messi was then posed the question on whether Neymar will soon be his successor at Barcelona. Messi had inherited the throne at the Camp Nou from Ronaldinho and looks all set to pass it on to the Brazilian forward.
But Messi wanted Neymar to have his own identity instead of followin in his footsteps.”Neymar is nobody's successor,” Messi said. “He has everything to be a great player himself.”
The obvious question was also asked – what did Messi feel about the rivalry between him and Ronaldo? Was he jealous of any of Ronaldo’s strenghts?
“I don’t feel envy,” Messi explained. “That’s a negative trait. I like Cristiano. I am the way I am. He is the way he is.”
The Portuguese star was first asked about the Ballon d’Or award. “It’s a special award,” Ronaldo said. “You work hard to achieve great things. Not just collective, but individual.”
Ronaldo has been nominated in the top three eight times since 2007 now. He has won it thrice and missed out on the top three only in 2010 when the Barca trio of Messi, Xavi and Andres Iniesta made the top three.
“It’s my eighth time here,” Ronaldo said. “It’s special.”
He was then asked about his work ethic and Ronaldo simply said: “Talent without the work is nothing.” Nobody can argue with that.
The 30-year-old was then asked about his love for the no.7 shirt and he told the press about the story of how he got the shirt at Manchester United.
“When I arrived at Man United, I asked for 28 but the coach said ‘No, you will wear 7’,” Ronaldo explained.
“I was petrified as I knew [David] Beckham wore that shirt. But I took on the challenge and since then it has been my lucky number. I have won everything in football with that shirt.”
He was also asked to give his thoughts on the scandals and corruption that plagued FIFA causing president Sepp blatter to step down.
“These things happen, not just in football,” he said. “The best thing is no corruption. In all life.”
And what about his exploits in 2015?
“I am happy with my season,” Ronaldo said. “We did not win many trophies, but it was another great year. So I am very happy.”
Ronaldo was also asked what he liked about Messi and which trait he’d love to have.
“His left foot is really good. I’d like to have that!” So does every other footballer on the planet!
The Barcelona forward currently leads the Spanish La Liga goalscoring charts (alongside Luis Suarez) with 15 goals in 16 games. In last season’s Champions League, he was the first player to score in both legs of the quarter-final (vs PSG), both legs of the semi-final (vs Bayern Munich) and the final (Juventus).
When asked about sharing the stage with both Messi and Ronaldo, Neymar said: “I’m very pleased to be here alongside two great players. I think they are absolutely the best, that’s why they’re here.”
Neymar continued to praise both Messi and ronaldo, saying: “I think they’ve made history. Both Lionel and Cristiano.”
The Brazilian was also asked about his own form and achievements in the past year.
“I’m pleased with the things I have achieved, the goals I have scored. I thank my teammates for that. Hopefully I can keep helping my team win and be here again in the future. Each player has his own aims. We have to be ourselves.”
When the question regarding the rivalry between Ronaldo and Messi was posed to the respective players, Neymar had also interrupted after Ronaldo had answered.
“I’d like to have both feet,” Neymar said and laughed.