The Barcelona star admitted that he felt hurt when the Juventus forward pulled level with him on five Ballon d’Or titles in 2017 and Luka Modric broke their dominance on the award in 2018, Messi is now one above his rival Ronaldo and the Argentine forward is excited that he is the only player with six Ballon d’Or.
“On one hand, I liked having five and being the only one who did,” the Barcelona captain explained in an interview with France Football, the organiser of the award.
“When Cristiano Ronaldo pulled level with me, I’ll admit that it hurt a little as I was no longer alone at the top.
“But, at that moment he deserved the Ballon d’Or and I couldn’t do much more about it.
“I understand why I didn’t win, as we hadn’t won the Champions League and winning that competition gives you a better chance of winning the Ballon d’Or.
“When Cristiano Ronaldo was winning all the [individual] trophies it was because he’d had really good seasons and had been winning the Champions League, being decisive as his team did so.”
The question of who the best player ever is was also put to Messi.
“Honestly, I don’t know,” he replied.
Messi also pointed out during the interview that he shouldn’t be evaluated purely on his goal tallies.
“I’m a constructor, not a goalscorer,” he stated.
Finally, he insisted that he prefers team silverware over individual recognition.
“Once again I’ll say that team trophies are more important, even if individual ones are really valuable,” the Argentine said.
“Everyone views the Ballon d’Or in their own way.
“At top-level sport, it’s true that you do always want to win.”