Lionel Messi has won five Ballon d’Or awards amongst countless team and individual accolades but, until today, the Barcelona superstar had never won La Liga’s Player of the Month award.
That might seem hard to believe but it’s absolutely true.
In fact, until December, no Barcelona player had ever won the monthly award which has been going since September 2013.
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Messi secured the gong for January after scoring six goals in five La Liga matches.
The 28-year-old netted a hat-trick against Granada, plus goals against Athletic Bilbao, Malaga and Atletico Madrid, to take his tally to 12 in 17 appearances.
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Messi has some catching up to do in Pichichi race
Messi, though, is still a long way behind in the race for the Pichichi. He missed two months of the season with a knee injury and is currently behind the league’s top scorer - and Barcelona teammate - Luis Suarez, who has 20 goals to his name so far this term.
The world’s best player also finds himself behind the likes of Gareth Bale, Neymar, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema, but it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if Messi leapfrogs all of them between now and the end of the season.
By his own exceptionally high standards, though, this does look set to be a low-scoring season for Messi.
The South American hasn’t scored fewer than 25 goals in a La Liga season since the 2008-09 campaign - and even then he still managed to net 23 goals in 31 appearances.
His best tally came during the 2011-12 campaign when he scored a remarkable 50 league goals in 37 matches.
Enough matches for Messi to score 40+ goals
However, there’s still every chance that Messi will end the season with at least 40 goals in all competitions.
He has 24 in 28 matches so far - and Barcelona still have 16 La Liga matches to go, they’re through to the Champions League knockout rounds and will face Sevilla in the Copa del Rey final in May.
With that many matches left to play, you wouldn’t bet against the prolific Messi scoring another 26 goals, let alone 16.
Cristiano Ronaldo has won the award twice
It is baffling why Messi hasn’t won the La Liga Player of the Month award until now. Cristiano Ronaldo, Antoine Griezmann and Diego Godin have all secured it twice, but only now has Messi won it for the very first time.
Here’s how Twitter has reacted to the news…
Will Lionel Messi win the La Liga Player of the Month award again next month? Have your say by leaving a comment below.