Leo Messi today became the first man to win the Ballon d’Or for a fourth consecutive year as he fought off competition from Cristiano Ronaldo and Andres Iniesta to take the top prize.
By Declan Whooley
The 25 year-old Argentinian was rewarded for his record breaking year where he scored a staggering 91 goals in the calendar year to break Gerd Muller’s 40 year-old record.
Barcelona may have had a disappointing season by their high standards, falling at the semi-final stage of the Champions League and seeing bitter rivals Real Madrid take their domestic title, but the striker was in sensational form throughout.
Messi was odds-on favourite to take the prize despite the stiff competition. Ronaldo scored 46 league goals as Madrid won La Liga, plus three more in the European Championships for Portugal. Iniesta was instrumental in Spain’s defence of their European crown and was a provider for many of Messi’s goals throughout the year.
No one will begrudge the pint-sized striker of his latest accolade – well besides Ronnie – and it looks as though his duel with the Real Madrid man has begun in 2013 in earnest. Ronaldo scored two goals as the champions overcame Real Sociedad 4-3 while Messi scored a penalty was Barca cruised to a 4-0 derby win over Espanyol.
The Kilkenny hurlers may have fallen short in their ‘drive for five’ a couple of years ago, but who would back against Messi making further history next season?
Let's just hope he's wearing a different suit if he does.