Barcelona forward Lionel Messi has won the 2015 FIFA Ballon d’Or after claiming the award for a record fifth time at Monday’s gala in Zurich.
As expected, Messi emerged as the runaway winner with 41.33 percent of the vote ahead of Real Madrid rival Ronaldo (27.76%) and clubmate Neymar (7.86%).
“It’s a very special moment for me to back here on this stage after being in the audience, watching Ronaldo win,” he remarked.
“It’s incredible that it’s my fifth and much more than I ever dreamt of as a kid. I want to thank everyone who voted for me and all my teammates.
“Without them, none of this would’ve happened. I thank football in general, both the bad and good because it's made me grow and learn.
“That’s all and thank you for everything.”
Messi first won the Ballon d’Or in 2009, when it had yet to be merged with FIFA’s World Player of the Year award, and went on to win a further three in succession.
Ronaldo then took advantage of Barca’s struggles post-Pep Guardiola in 2013 and 2014, but a triumphant return to form, which saw the Catalans win five trophies in 2015, with the No 10 at the forefront, has allowed Messi to regain his crown.