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Messi announced as the best in the World for the 5th time


messizLionel Messi has won the Ballon d’Or for the 5th time edging out Real Madrid rival Christiano Ronaldo and Barcelona team mate Neymar at Monday’s ceremony in Zurich.

The Argentine received 41.33 per cent of the votes, with Ronaldo (27.76%) in second place and Neymar (7.86%) third.

Messi’s record now even further beyond Ronaldo’s reach in the personal duel between the two men who have taken standards to unseen heights in their domination of the sport during the past decade.

In Zurich last year, Messi had even cast doubt on his future at Barcelona. His benching for a 1-0 defeat to Real Sociedad the most ignominious start to what would turn out to be the second most successful in Barca’s 116-year history.

Messi missed an open training session with the club’s fans, Barca sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta was sacked and club legend Carles Puyol walked. Enrique would have followed suit had Messi demanded it.

Instead, he used the fuel of the most disappointing year of his career in 2014 to fire Barca to a treble of Champions League, La Liga and Copa del Rey trophies.

Lionel Messi in 2015: Games: 61 Goals: 52 Assists: 26 Trophies: 5

His partnership with Neymar and Luis Suarez suddenly kicked into gear, between them hitting 137 of Barca’s record 180 goals in 2015, making the South American trio one of the most frightening frontlines the game has ever seen.

Even a two-month injury layoff due to knee ligament damage couldn’t derail Messi’s case as he also scored in the Uefa Super Cup and Club World Cup finals to take Barca’s total trophy haul for the year to five.

There was still disappointment at international level. Another final defeat – this time on penalties to Chile at the Copa America – means Messi has still to deliver a major trophy for La Albiceleste.

However, while others may use his record with Argentina to doubt his candidacy as the best player ever, in Barcelona 2015 enshrined his legacy as the greatest.

Unsiprisingly the trio were also named in the 2015 FIFPro World XI team of the year.

As usual, both Barcelona and Real Madrid are well-represented. The Blaugrana’s Andres Iniesta and Dani Alves join Messi and Neymar, while Los Blancos’ Marcelo, Luka Modric and Sergio Ramos also made the squad.

Juventus’ Paul Pogba and Paris Saint-Germain’s Thiago Silva also made the team, as did Bayern Munich’s Manuel Neuer.

Barcelona boss boss Luis Enrique  has been named as the 2015 Fifa World Coach, seeing off competition from Josep Guardiola and Jorge Sampoli.