Ballon d'Or 2019: The moment of withdrawal is approaching - Messi unsure how long he will remain at the top

By Sports Desk December 02, 2019

Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi acknowledged "the moment of withdrawal is approaching" after picking up a record sixth Ballon d'Or crown at Monday's ceremony in Paris.

Messi saw off stiff competition from Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk to win the award for the first time since 2015, moving him one ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo, who finished third.

The 32-year-old has scored 41 goals in 44 club appearances this calendar year, but he is unsure just how long he will be able to maintain his incredible goalscoring form.

Speaking on stage after collecting the prestigious accolade, a decade on from his first triumph, Messi said: "To the journalists and my colleagues with whom I win and lose, I remember my first Ballon D'Or in Paris, when I arrived with my brothers, now I pick up the sixth, and this was absolutely unthinkable. 

"I never stopped dreaming and enjoying football like when I was a child. I hope I have more years to enjoy, although I am aware of how old I am, everything happens very quickly and I know that the moment of withdrawal is approaching."

Messi is into his 16th season with Barcelona and made his 700th appearance for the LaLiga champions in last week's 3-1 win against Borussia Dortmund.

The Ballon d'Or award has now been won by a player from Spain's top flight in each of the last 11 campaigns, with Luka Modric temporarily breaking Messi and Ronaldo's stronghold on the prize last year.

Related items

  • Real Madrid announce no new positive coronavirus tests Real Madrid announce no new positive coronavirus tests

    Real Madrid have announced that no players or staff members have tested positive for coronavirus.

    News emerged on Tuesday that midfielder Martin Odegaard had reportedly returned a positive test after Madrid's goalless draw with Real Sociedad.

    The 21-year-old took part in training on Tuesday and was also in close contact with Sociedad's players at the weekend.

    However, Madrid released a statement on their official website on Wednesday to announce no members of their squad have contracted COVID-19.

    "Real Madrid communicates after the latest COVID-19 tests carried out on our first football team and their coaching staff, all the results have been negative," the statement read.

    Madrid return to action on Saturday with a trip to Real Betis, who have won their opening two games to occupy second place in the division.

  • Rumour Has It: Suarez to join Atletico, Man Utd in Barca talks for Dembele Rumour Has It: Suarez to join Atletico, Man Utd in Barca talks for Dembele

    First Juventus, now Atletico Madrid.

    For so long, Luis Suarez appeared set to leave Spain for Italy.

    But a proposed move to Juve did not materialise as the Barcelona forward stands on the cusp of uniting with Diego Simeone in the Spanish capital.

     

    TOP STORY – SUAREZ TO JOIN ATLETICO

    Luis Suarez will swap Barcelona for LaLiga rivals Atletico Madrid, according to widespread reports in Spain.

    Suarez had been tipped to join Serie A champions Juventus after being told he could leave Camp Nou.

    But the 33-year-old Uruguay international forward will now sign a two-year deal with Atletico as he dominates the front pages of Wednesday's Marca, Diario AS and Mundo Deportivo.

     

    ROUND-UP

    Manchester United have progressed talks with Barca regarding forward Ousmane Dembele, Record Sport reports. Having so far failed to prise Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund, United are eyeing an initial loan move for Dembele.

    - Esport3 claims Barca are set to sign Ajax right-back Sergino Dest, who was also wanted by Bayern Munich.

    Milan have offered €20million for Nikola Milenkovic but Fiorentina have said no, reports Gazzetta dello Sport. Celtic's Kristoffer Ajer and Schalke centre-back Matija Nastasic are also options for the Rossoneri.

    - Tuttosport claims Wolves are circling Juventus winger Douglas Costa, who has also been linked to United.

    Fulham and Newcastle United have entered the race to sign Napoli forward Arkadiusz Milik, reports Gazzetta dello Sport. Tottenham have also been linked to the Poland international, while Roma are believed to be in talks as Milik enters the final year of his Napoli contract.

    - Sky Sport Italia says Tottenham have opened talks for Inter defender Milan Skriniar, while Benfica's Ruben Dias is another option for Spurs.

    - Torino are battling Atletico for Arsenal midfielder Lucas Torreira, according to Sportitalia. The former Sampdoria star has also been linked to Milan.

    - Telefoot says Paris Saint-Germain are in talks with Chelsea over the possible signing of midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko. Discussions with Milan over a return have become complicated and PSG are now eyeing an initial loan deal for the former Monaco star.

  • Messi? I crossed my fingers that he would stay at Barca – Roberto Messi? I crossed my fingers that he would stay at Barca – Roberto

    Barcelona utility Sergi Roberto said he crossed his fingers that superstar captain Lionel Messi would remain at Camp Nou.

    Messi stunned the world last month when he informed Barca of his intention to depart the LaLiga giants, with the 33-year-old intending to trigger a clause in his contract to walk away on a free transfer at the end of last season.

    However, the validity of such a stipulation was murky due to the campaign being extended by the coronavirus pandemic, and six-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi ultimately opted to remain in Catalonia rather than challenge Barcelona in a legal battle.

    Asked about Messi heading into 2020-21, Roberto told RAC1: "I thought the same as all the Catalans, that it could not be true that Messi did not continue with us.

    "I cannot imagine a Barca without Leo and I crossed my fingers so that he would stay. I see him training very well. He is a very professional player and I have no doubt that he will always give 100 per cent for this shirt and this club."

    Ronald Koeman is at the helm as Barca prepare for their LaLiga opener against Villarreal on Sunday.

    Koeman replaced Quique Setien, who was only appointed in January, after Barca were dethroned by bitter rivals Real Madrid in LaLiga and humiliated 8-2 by Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals last season.

    "He [Koeman] has made us work a lot," Roberto said. "The training sessions have been very long.

    "We are working very well. He tells the players things clearly and that is good for the team. I fully trust the coach and all the players."

    As well as a new coach, there are changes with Barca's playing personnel following Arturo Vidal's move to Inter and Ivan Rakitic's return to Sevilla.

    Full-back Nelson Semedo is also poised to join Wolves in the Premier League, while veteran forward Luis Suarez is reportedly in discussions to swap Barca for rivals Atletico Madrid.

    "The president or the new coach must decide who they trust and who they will count on," added Roberto.

    "I have a special appreciation for Suarez. He is a player who has given a lot all these years. If he ends up leaving, Atletico will be much stronger."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.