Lionel Messi emerged the winner of the 2019 Ballon d’Or beating Virgil van Dijk and arch-rival Cristiano Ronaldo. Messi narrowly won the award with just seven more votes than second-placed van Dijk. However, the 2019 award was in the news recently in the wake of the release of the biography of Cristiano Ronaldo.
Ronaldo made a shocking claim about the award back in 2019 when he first met the author Thierry Marchand, who wrote the recently released biography. He also shared his thoughts on Messi carrying on at FC Barcelona for all these years.
Cristiano Ronaldo claimed to leave soccer if his arch-rival wins the 2019 Ballon d’Or
Marchand met Ronaldo almost nine times face-to-face to write the biography. He revealed Ronaldo’s statement in 2019 when the Portuguese superstar made an audacious claim in the meeting. Ronaldo said, “If Messi wins the Ballon d’Or this year, I’ll quit football!”
Ronaldo also went on to share the reason behind not winning the 2018 Balon d’Or, with Marchand. Portuguese felt he dared to take the risk and move to Juventus in 2018 from the Spanish giants, Real Madrid. It was the decision to join Juventus that cost him the 6th Ballon d’Or, although he doesn’t regret the decision of going to Turin.
The Portuguese superstar also criticized Messi’s decision to continue at Barcelona for all these years. The French author revealed what Ronaldo said about this: “It’s so easy to stay in your bubble when you’re successful. Do not step out of your comfort zone, as I have always done. Look, I dared to come to Turin, to change club, championship, and football culture.”
However, after those Ronaldo statements, Messi went on to win his 6th Ballon d’Or in 2019. We are aware of the rivalry between the two who dominated the decade of winning Ballon d’Or awards from 2008 until Luka Modric won it in 2018.
Is Lionel Messi a favorite to win his 8th Ballon d’Or?
The PSG star is at a peak of his form again this season and has recently guided Argentina to their first FIFA World Cup since 1986. He won the Golden Ball award and finished the tournament just one goal behind the Golden Boot winner and PSG teammate Kylian Mbappe.
Messi became the first player ever to provide an assist at five different World Cups. He also is the youngest and oldest player to score and provide an assist in the same World Cup game. As club soccer is returning, it will be interesting to see whether Messi continues his red-hot form and becomes a strong contender for the coveted individual trophy.