Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi has won the 2015 Ballon d’Or.
The Argentina international moved a step closer to cementing his status as the best footballer of all time by winning the prestigious individual accolade for a record-breaking fifth time on Monday night.
It’s the first time Messi has won the award since 2012 - and on this occasion he fended off stiff competition from Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo, winner of the Ballon d’Or in 2013 and 2014, and his Barcelona teammate Neymar.
SUBMIT AN ARTICLE
Apply to become a GMS writer by signing up and submitting a 250-word test article: http://gms.to/haveyoursay5
Messi was the overwhelming favourite to win the award after inspiring Barcelona to another historic treble last season.
In 56 appearances in 2015, the South American genius scored 48 goals - standard Messi stats - giving him a goals-to-games average of 0.86.
Messi also provided 24 assists for his teammates - an average of 0.43 assists per game - while his shot conversation ratio was a pretty impressive 21.4 per cent.
Infographic: Lionel Messi's 2015 stats
Ronaldo's individual stats were better...
In terms of individual stats, Ronaldo boasted the best figures of the three Ballon d’Or finalists.
The Portuguese star made 52 appearances for Los Blancos and weighed in with a staggering 54 goals, plus 17 assists.
But Messi got the nod from those with the power to vote on account of the major team trophies he won with Barcelona and his influence in the decisive matches.
Goals, it turns out, aren’t everything when it comes to the Ballon d’Or.
Did Lionel Messi deserve to win the 2015 Ballon d’Or? Let us know by leaving a comment below.