Record-breaking Lionel Messi is poised to become the first player to win four successive Ballon d’Or awards today, sealing his status as the greatest player of his generation.
The 25-year-old is the overwhelming favourite to see off the challenge of Barcelona teammate Andres Iniesta and great Real Madrid rival Cristiano Ronaldo for the prize.
It will crown another landmark year for the Argentine who is the top scorer in La Liga this season with 25 goals having also broken Gerd Mueller’s 40-year record for the most goals in a calendar year. He finished 2012 with an astonishing 91 goals in all competitions.
However, Messi is modest when it comes to today’s awards in Zurich. “If Iniesta wins, it will be well-deserved for all that he has done, for the way he plays. Again, it will also be a prize for the dressing room.”
Meanwhile, Portugal captain Ronaldo admits he would love to win but it would not be the end of the world if the prize went elsewhere.
“If I win, perfect. If I don’t, never mind, life goes on. But obviously I’d love to win. I’m not going to lie or be hypocritical,” said the 27-year-old Real Madrid forward.
“Fair or unfair, the decision will be what it will be... I’ll maybe be very happy or maybe very sad. But that’s life. I can’t live according to an individual prize,” the 2008 Ballon d’Or winner added.