Who said what: The world reacts to Lionel Messi's 2015 Ballon d'Or triumph
Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi was crowned as the best footballer in the world as he won the 2015 Ballon d’Or at the FIFA gala in Switzerland on Monday. The Argentine magician won the prestigious award for a record fifth time as he beat last year’s winner Cristiano Ronaldo and teammate Neymar in a landslide victory.
Messi’s coronation was in little doubt owing to the overwhelming success he enjoyed in the past year which saw Barcelona win five of the six available trophies along with the coveted treble.
Speaking at the gala after he was named as the winner, Messi called the award a ‘special moment’.
“It’s a very special moment to be back here, winning another Ballon d’Or,” he said.
“Especially after watching from the crowd as Cristiano won last year. It’s incredible to win a fifth... more than anything I ever dreamed of as a kid.”
Tributes and congratulatory messages for the Barca genius poured in from around the world as teammate and fellow Ballon d’Or nominee Neymar led the way.
The Brazilian forward called Messi his ‘idol’ and said it has been an ‘honour’ to play alongside the Argentine at Barcelona.
Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu was not too far behind as he commended his club’s most prized asset.
An admirable record, Leo. The Barcelona family is very proud to have you here with us pic.twitter.com/HqRRSvvNEm— Josep Maria Bartomeu (@jmbartomeu) January 11, 2016
Former Dutch and Barcelona striker Patrick Kluivert called Messi the ‘best football player’ ever and also named his former club the ‘best team’ in the world.
Messi the best player ever plus he is playing for the best team @FCBarcelona— Patrick Kluivert (@PatrickKluivert) January 11, 2016
Brazilian legend Pele, considered my many as one of the greatest footballers to ever play the game, wished Messi on his unprecedented fifth Ballon d’Or crown.
In addition, I want to congratulate Leo Messi for winning his 5th Ballon d'Or award.— Pelé (@Pele) January 12, 2016
Manchester United captain and known Messi admirer, Wayne Rooney called Messi’s triumph an ‘unbelievable achievement’.
Congratulations to Lionel Messi on winning his 5th #BallondOr. Unbelievable achievement— Wayne Rooney (@WayneRooney) January 11, 2016
Former England and Barcelona striker Gary Lineker joined the chorus in naming Messi as the ‘greatest footballer’ ever to play the game as Newcastle United and England legend Alan Shearer called Messi’s coronation ‘thoroughly deserved’.
Tthe FIFA #BallondOr 2015 winner is the greatest footballer ever to play the game, Lionel Messi.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) January 11, 2016
Meanwhile, former Barcelona, Real Madrid and Portugal star and a Ballon d’Or award winner himself Luis Figo congratulated the Argentine and called his latest achievement ‘amazing’.
Congratulation to Messi to the 5 FIFA Ballon d or amazing!!! pic.twitter.com/u8YgrPMmw1— Luís Figo (@LuisFigo) January 11, 2016
Chelsea captain John Terry called Messi the ‘best ever’ as former Chelsea teammate and record goalscorer Frank Lampard chose the Barca talisman as his ‘undisputed’ choice for ‘best footballer ever’.
A photo posted by John Terry (@johnterry.26) on Jan 11, 2016 at 12:42pm PST
A photo posted by Frank Lampard (@franklampard) on Jan 11, 2016 at 12:42pm PST
A few more messages from the world of football: