Barcelona's Lionel Messi has done it again.
On Monday in Zurich, Swizterland, Messi was awarded FIFA's prestigious Ballon d'Or (also known as the World Player of the Year award) for a record-setting fifth time. The other nominees included Messi's dynamic Barcelona teammate Neymar and Real Madrid rival Cristiano Ronaldo.
Neymar and Ronaldo are talented enough to live within the same solar system as Messi, but Barcelona's talisman was a shoo-in to win the 2015 Ballon d'Or -- even Ronaldo admitted as much in the lead-up to the awards ceremony.
Individually, Messi scored 52 times and racked up 26 assists for club and country in 2015, but Barcelona's team accomplishments set him apart from the field: Barcelona captured a coveted "treble," winning La Liga, Copa del Rey and UEFA Champions League titles. Partnered with Neymar and Luis Suarez in attack, Barcelona's attacking trident laid waste to world football, and Messi pulled the strings with quiet aplomb.
As the catalyst for his team's history-making season, voters were left with an easy decision: To once again name Messi as world soccer's top man.
Messi won the award for four consecutive years from 2009-2012, but an injury-plagued 2013 campaign saw Ronaldo, who scored 69 goals in all competitions that year (even through injury, Messi netted 45 times that year), break Messi's streak by winning his second Ballon d'Or. Messi returned to form in 2014, but Ronaldo once again captured the Ballon d'Or for leading Real Madrid to their record 10th Champions League title and banging in 61 goals across all competitions.
Looking ahead to next year's Ballon d'Or, Ronaldo better catch up if he wants to beat out Messi next year. In 2016 so far, Messi has five goals. Ronaldo has none (yet).
FIFA may have to rename the Ballon d'Or after Messi if he keeps this up.
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