Record four-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi had no sooner picked up his award in Zurich on Monday than he was forecasting there’s much more to come, as he is still only 25.
The accolade sealed Messi’s status as the greatest player of his generation after he saw off Real Madrid rival Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona teammate Andres Iniesta for the prize with a vote share of 41.60 percent to 23.68 for Ronaldo and 10.91 for Iniesta.
And the man nicknamed La Pulga (the flea), who moved ahead of three-times winners Michel Platini, Johan Cruyff and Marco Van Basten after a year in which he scored a world record 91 goals, promptly looked forward to further glories.
“There’s always space to grow up and be better. We never reach perfection. I will keep trying to be better and better and keep growing as a player,” Messi said.
Messi retained his typical modesty, however, in crediting his teammates for his win.
“Barca is not just Messi. Barca has very good players,” said the star from Rosario, who joined the Catalan club as a 13-year-old suffering from a hormone growth deficiency. The club paid for a treatment programme and he went on to make the grade with style, winning five La Liga crowns to date and three Champions League titles.
Messi said that when he started out he did not realise quite what special talents he possesses.
“I never truly realized, to be honest. Back then, I couldn’t even dare to dream about all that has happened to me,” Messi said.AFP