Barcelona’s Lionel Messi has won the 2015 Ballon d’Or after being voted ahead of teammate Neymar and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo.
It is the fifth time that the Argentine has been crowned world footballer of the year - more than anyone else.
There can be very little debate as to whether the 28-year-old deserved to reclaim the award from Ronaldo, who had won it in the previous two years.
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Messi's performances were instrumental as Barcelona completed a La Liga and Champions League double with 58 goals in 57 appearances in all competitions, including 43 goals in 38 games in La Liga.
He also scored twice in the Copa del Rey final in a 3-1 win against Athletic Bilbao, scoring an outstanding goal as he ran half the length of the pitch with the ball beating four defenders before smashing the ball home.
Ten goals in the Champions League made him joint top scorer in the competition while he was also the top assist provider with six.
Messi's performance against Bayern Munich in Barcelona’s 3-0 semi-final victory was arguably the highlight of his magnificent year.
His second goal of the night was the year’s most tweeted about sporting moment as he bamboozled defender Jerome Boateng before dinking the ball over Manuel Neuer - Messi admitted that it was probably the best moment of his year.
During the 2014/15 season, he also set a new record for most hat-tricks in Spanish football when he scored three goals against Rayo Vallecano in 11 minutes, his 32nd overall for Barcelona. He also set a new record for most assists in La Liga, overtaking Luis Figo’s record of 105.
Messi and Ronaldo
This year's Ballon d'Or victory means that the stranglehold on the crown held by Messi and Ronaldo has now lasted eight years with the Barcelona man leading his Portuguese rival by five crowns to three.
However before picking up the award, Messi admitted that he would swap five Ballon d’Or awards for a World Cup after Argentina lost in extra-time of the final in 2014 against Germany.
“Obviously the World Cup, it’s the maximum. Definitely,” he said.
Messi has struggled with injury during parts of this season but he has still managed 18 goals in 21 games in all competitions. Last weekend, he struck a magnificent hat-trick against Granada.
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