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A decade on from his first Ballon d'Or win in 2009, Leo Messi has been awarded the prize for the sixth time. Chosen as the best player of the year by French magazine France Football, Messi is the player to have won the award on the most occasions in history.
It's been a successful 10 years for the Argentine, but how have Messi, Barça, sport and the world in general changed in this time? We have a look at some curiosities from an amazing decade.
Messi goes from 9 trophies to 34
The Argentinian has had to quadruple the size of his trophy cabinet in this time. He had already won nine major titles when he first won the award, but he now has 34, making him the most decorated player in club history.
Messi – 34
Iniesta – 32
Piqué & Busquets – 29
Xavi – 25
523 goals in 10 years
Messi has netted a gobsmacking 522 goals for Barça in this time, for an overall total of 614, more than any other player in club history. When he first won the Ballon d’Or, his 91 goals weren’t even enough to put him in the all-time Top 20.
El Clásico: From 69-75 to 96-93
At the time of Messi’s first Ballon d’Or, Real Madrid had won 75 major trophies, and FC Barcelona had 69. The superstar forward has played a major role in turning that situation around. Barça are now the most decorated team in Spanish football history, with 96 trophies compared to 93 for Los Blancos.
370 games away from Migueli
When he first won the honour, Messi had made 179 first team appearances, still a massive 370 short of then all-time leader Migueli, with 549. Since then, Xavi Hernández, has set a new record of 767, but with 701 games played, Messi needs just 66 more to set a new all-time high
110 different teammates
Messi has shared a dressing room with 110 different players in his time, in other words ten different line-ups all with Messi wearing number 10. Sergio Busquets and Gerard Piqué are the players that have played most games alongside the GOAT.
Ansu Fati was just starting school
When Messi won his first Ballon d’Or, his current strike partner, Ansu Fati, was just seven years old and playing in the youngest age groups at a club called CDF Herrera. He was the same age as Leo Messi’s oldest son Thiago is now.
One wedding and three children
Speaking of which, Messi was not yet a father when he was named best in the world for the first time. He now has three son, Thiago, Mateo and Ciro, and married Antonella Rocuzzo in 2017.
A pair of Golden Shoes for each of his offspring
Each of his sons could wear a Golden Shoe on each foot. Messi has topped the European goalscoring charts in 2009/10, 2011/12, 2012/13, 2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19. Unmatchable.
The world of sport, 10 years on
When Messi first won the Ballon d’Or, Lebron James was still looking for his first NBA ring, Rafa Nadal had only won 6 of his 19 Grands Slams, Michael Phelps had only won 16 of his 28 Olympic medals, New Zealand hadn’t won the Rugby World Cup for two decades, Spain had never won the World Cup and Simone Biles was only 12 years old.
How the world has changed
When Leo Messi won his first Ballon d’Or, I Gotta Feeling by the Black Eyed Peas was the biggest selling single, Barack Obama had only just been sworn in as president of the US, Game of Thrones hadn’t even started to air, the Arab Spring had yet to happen, WhatsApp was only just being launched and Instagram didn’t even exist yet!
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