The Spanish press heaped praise on Lionel Messi after the 25-year-old became the first man to win the FIFA Ballon d’Or four times. “He is”, said El Mundo, “beyond classification.”
In his native Argentina, it has been suggested that Lionel Messi’s winning of a record fourth consecutive FIFA Ballon d’Or is almost not newsworthy, such is the continuing regularity with which the 25-year-old is honoured. Not so in his adopted homeland, where debate has grown surrounding just how many individual titles the FC Barcelona striker can win before he retires.
Spanish daily El País says Messi now practically owns the annual award which he collected at a gala in Zurich last night, taking him past Michel Platini, Johan Cruyff and Marco van Basten who each won it three times. “Messi makes the Ballon d’Or his own,” the publication declared before exposing a chink in his armour – he was heard muttering he was “really nervous” as he took to the stage to collect his trophy.