5 reasons why Lionel Messi is bigger than the Ballon d'Or
For those of you who don't quite understand the hype and significance of the Ballon d'Or, imagine being the best in the world at what you do. Now, imagine you were given a trophy for it. One that nobody else in the entire world could beat you to. Feel good? To know that you've surpassed the ENTIRE planet at what you do?
The Ballon d'Or is that exact validation in the football world. Every year, there's just 1 of its kind on the line, and only the very best footballer in the world (over a period of a whole year, mind you) is bestowed with one of the most elegant trophies in sporting history.
While most legends have struggled to win it even once in their career, and only 10 players in history have won it more than once, our era has been blessed with 2 players, wizards, more like, who have won it a stunning total of 10 times, between them. These two, are none other than Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
Over the past decade, engaged in one of the fiercest sporting rivalries known to mankind, these two exemplary individuals have converted football's most coveted individual award into a prize at the end of a two-horse race, rendering everyone else, as quite simply, background noise.
Cristiano Ronaldo won his 5th Ballon d'Or in December 2017, to equal Lionel Messi's staggering tally, and ensured that we won't witness the end of the decade-old Messi v Ronaldo debate just yet.
While it is simply astonishing that no other player in the world has been able to break the duo's dominant duopoly, people are slowly beginning to under-value the Ballon d'Or, predominantly because of its predictability, and because of the sheer belief that it's no longer a fair race, but merely a bone of contention between two unstoppable individuals.
Has the Ballon d'Or truly become a bland drag race between two superstars? Is there any room for real competition?
This year's award has only just been awarded to Cristiano Ronaldo. However, as this brings him level with Lionel Messi, questions are already being raised over which one of these two inhuman beings will win it next year.
Will Leo edge past Ronaldo next year, or will it be the converse?
And just like that, scant disregard for the rest of the footballing community has ensured that next year, too, will be nothing short of a two-horse race.
Real Madrid's dominance has seen Cristiano Ronaldo win the Ballon d'Or 4 times in the last 5 years. The biggest question for the future, though, is which of these iconic legends will finally reign supreme and win a record 6th Ballon d'Or?
The way the current season has started, widespread belief suggests that it'll be Leo Messi standing on the podium, next December, with the Ballon d'Or in hand. Although, is that really what the diminutive Argentinian is aiming for?
That being said, here are 5 reasons why we believe Lionel Messi is presently bigger than the Ballon d'Or:
#5 Does Leo Messi even care about awards anymore?
Sure, everyone loves awards. They make you gush with pride, and effectively announce you to the world. The Ballon d'Or, specifically, announces you to the world as the best in it, which is a huge deal to most. Silverware, contrary to consolatory sayings, is what truly matters in the end, and every player out there, is in it to win it.
Except, Lionel Messi has won everything under the sun. Heck, he's probably widely celebrated amongst aliens as well. My heart goes out to the person in charge of maintaining and updating Messi's Wikipedia page, for his list of achievements, if listed vertically, puts the Mariana Trench's depth to shame.
5 Ballons d'Or, 5 European Golden Boots, 4 World Soccer World Player of the Years, 3 Don Balón Awards (La Liga Best Foreign Player), 2 UEFA Men's Player of the Year Awards, 1 FIFA World Player of the Year, and 1 UEFA Club Footballer of the Year only constitute a paltry fraction of Messi's list of individual awards.
Will one additional trophy, even if it's the Ballon d'Or, really validate something that hasn't already been validated?
Does Messi really need to be announced as the best player in the world, when he has already been widely hailed as the best for over a decade?