It was as inevitable as the rising of the sun, as predictable as the outcome of a biased political election and as much awaited as the launch of a new iphone. It was no surprise that Lionel Messi lifted the Ballon d’Or for a record fifth time in the history of the game.
The Argentine Maestro proved his reign in the global game in Zurich on the night of January 11, 2016. He outclassed his Barcelona teammate Neymar and his eternal rival Cristiano Ronaldo to lift the most prestigious individual accolade in world soccer. With a total vote percentage of 41.77 Messi became the King again!
It was never a question of whether Leo would win, rather it was a question of on which date would he win. In 2015, Messi had already outcast Ronaldo in every tournament.
FIFA Ballon D’Or Winner 2015 Messi Award Winning Speech
A struggling start to the Liga campaign was followed by a Ballon d’Or win for Ronaldo last year. Ronaldo went on to claim to media that he would love to win 4 titles in a row like Lionel Messi. It would’ve been a lightening bolt struck through the heart of Lionel and it was evident from the sudden surge of performance Lionel started delivering for his Catalan side. After Barcelona lost to Real Sociedad in the first week of 2015, there was a lot of criticism surrounding Luis Enrique and the speculations that Lionel is set to leave for England due to tensions between him and the coach.
But that was just the start to a campaign that would become a historic one for the Spanish club. After that defeat, Barcelona inspired by the Neymar, Suarez and the magical Messi never seemed to look back. They went on to defeat Atletico Madrid thrice in the span of a month. They went on a winning streak for the next couple of months in the Liga. And by April they saw themselves comfortable at top spot after winning the Clasico at home. Messi sealed the Liga title by firing home a close range strike from a tight situation against Atleti in the Calderon. The Liga campaign also witnessed Messi bagging his 400th goal for Barcelona in the league game against Valencia.
Again in the Copa Del Rey, Messi just showed the world why he was the best by scoring what was quoted by the commentator as ‘one of the great Copa Del Rey Final goals’. Messi zoomed past 5 Athletic Bilbao defenders from the right flank to cut inside and slot home a goal into the bottom corner. Barcelona went on to win the game with a wide margin by the end of 90 minutes. Two cups sealed in the span of a month.
Messi went on to mesmerize the crowds all over the world with his mesmerizing technique, dribbling and goals in the games on road to Champions League glory. Notable performances included the nutmegs of Fernandinho and Milner in the Champions League game against Manchester City. In the semi-finals of the Champions league when Barcelona thought they had no way to score against a resilient Guardiola’s Bayern, Messi scored two in the last ten minutes and inspired Neymar to humiliate Neuer by scoring a goal through under his legs. Messi scored twice that night against the man who denied him the World Cup a year back. The first shot was a fiery shot placed into the bottom corner of the Bayern goal, while the second one was a hypnotic move forcing Jerome Boateng to fall losing his balance while Messi went on ahead to slot the ball home by chipping it over Neuer. In the finale against Juventus, Messi might not have been on the score-sheet but he was the one to create a gifted goal for Suarez as Buffon parried away a Messi shot onto the path of the Uruguayan. The Champions League win meant that Barca completed the second treble in its history and the Catalan side became the first ever club side in the history of the game to win two trebles.
The coming season, triumph in the Uefa Super Cup followed. But the only gaping hole in Barcelona’s hope for a sextuple was created after a shock aggregate defeat to Bilbao in the Spanish Supercopa. But all’s well that ends well, Lionel scored the opening goal against River Plate in the finale of the Club World Cup in Japan. With this victory Messi instrumentally helped Barcelona to clinch a total of 5 trophies out of a possible 6 in 2015. Prior to the gala event in Zurich, Messi was honored by the city of Dubai as the best player of 2015, as he went on to lift the Globe Award, the title previously held by Ronaldo. Messi also lifted the UEFA best player in Europe by the end of the year.
Exactly a year back, Messi was surrounded by criticisms and the rubbish claims that his time was over. He was criticized for his performances in the World Cup as Ronaldo looked the new ruler with two successive Ballon d’Ors. But Lionel Messi showed his character, and proved to the world and especially to his haters that he was not history, he was only getting ready to make some.