When did Messi win all of his Ballon d'Or awards? Seasons and stats
No other player on the planet has won as many Ballons d’Or as Lionel Messi. He is the currently holder of the award, after winning the last edition in 2019.
Among the countless records which Leo Messi has built up during his career is the one for winning the most Ballon d’Or awards. During an 11-year period, from 2009 to 2019, he amassed six Ballons d’Or, finally managing to go one better than his old sparring partner Cristiano Ronaldo. Messi is the current Ballon d’Or holder, he stood atop the podium in the last edition of the ceremony in December 2019. There was no Ballon d’Or awarded in 2020 – the event was cancelled as a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic.
2009: Messi’s first Ballon d’Or
Messi picked up his first Ballon d’Or in 2009, the last time the traditional award was presented before it briefly merged with the FIFA World Player of the Year award. Messi polled 473 votes that year, more than double than the player in second place, Cristiano. In doing so, he became the first player to have come through the youth system at Barça and win the award.
For Barça and for Messi, 2009 was a hugely successful year. In May, they beat Manchester United in Rome to lift the Champions League trophy and complete an historic treble – the first Spanish club to do so. Once again, Messi played a big part in the team’s triumphs, ending the campaign with 38 goals, including a memorable header in the final against United. By the time of the Ballon d’Or ceremony on 1 December, Messi and Co. had already added another two trophies to the club’s honours list – the European Super Cup and Spanish Super Cup. And just under three week’s after being presented with his first Ballon d’Or, Messi was on target in the Club World Cup final in Abu Dhabi – Barça beat Estudiantes in extra-time to lift their sixth piece of silverware in one calendar, the first club to complete the sextuple and one of only two clubs to achieve it in the history of the game.
2010: Ballon d’Or is rebranded
Up until 2010, the Ballon d’Or, organised by France Football, and FIFA’s World Player of the Year award ran in tandem. That changed in 2010 when the awards were merged. It ran for six editions and ended up being an annual back and forth between Messi and Cristiano, each of them spurring the other on in their quest to be the best player in the world. The voting process for the FIFA Ballon d’Or was based on FIFA’s own criteria with votes cast by national team coaches and captains. Messi picked up 22.65% of the votes to win the award although some felt that his Barça team mates Iniesta and Xavi, who a few months earlier had won the World Cup with Spain in South Africa, perhaps deserved it more.
Out on the pitch, it was another productive season for Messi who ended as the top scorer in LaLiga with 34 goals to pick up his first Pichichi award. He finished the season with 47 goals in all competitions as Barça retained the league title but were denied a second consecutive appearance in the Champions League final by Mourinho’s Inter Milan.
2011: Ballon d’Or number 3
Messi and Cristiano were back occupying first and second place on the podium 12 months later in Zurich. The Argentinean polled 47.88% of the votes compared to 21.6% for Cristiano. Once again Xavi finished third with Iniesta just behind him in fourth.
For the second consecutive year, Messi posted 30+ goals in LaLiga while Cristiano ended with 41 and took the ESM Golden Shoe. Collectively, it was another golden year for Barça, who celebrated a Liga and Champions League double.
2012: goals galore
In 2012, Messi and Cristiano were back in Zurich but this time, it was a little closer. Messi received 41.6% of the votes as opposed to Cristiano’s 23.68%. Messi collected the Ballon d’Or for the fourth year running but within the next five years his major rival would eventually catch up with him.
It was another outstanding year for Messi on a personal level and with Barça. He reset the record for most goals scored in one LaLiga season (50) which Cristiano had broken the previous season. That feat also earned him his second Golden Shoe. In one calendar year, Messi scored a total of 91 goals for club and country across all competitions, breaking the previous record of held by legendary German striker Gerd Müller. With the team, Messi won the Copa del Rey but were pipped to LaLiga by Real Madrid and eliminated from the Champions League by Chelsea at the semi-final stage.
2015: Messi wins the last FIFA Ballon d'Or
Cristiano gained ground on Messi by winning the 2013 and 2014 editions but the Barca No.10 was back to pick up his fifth Ballon d’Or in December 2015, the last time the award was held in conjunction with FIFA.
Messi was at the very top of his game, he ended with 43 goals in LaLiga and 10 in the Champions League as Barça completed the treble, crowned champions of Europe and clinching both domestic titles. And individually, he still had the edge over Cristiano – five Ballon d’Or awards to his three, although not for much longer...
2019: LalLiga joy but disappointment in the Champions League
The most recent edition of the Ballon d’Or was held in Paris on 2 December 2019. Messi won the award for a record sixth time, just beating Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk by a seven-point margin. In some ways it was a fruitful season for Barcelona, they claimed their 26th LaLiga title and were runners-up in the Copa but they squandered a three-goal lead to Liverpool and were dumped out of the Champions League at the semi-final stage.
Messi finished with 36 LaLiga goals – the sixth time he had scored 30+ goals in one season and was named Pichichi for a sixth time – equalling the player the award was named after, Telmo Zarra. He also had to make room for his sixth Golden Shoe, another record. Any euphoria was short-lived - just a few months later he was embroiled in a stand-off with Barça after threatening to leave the club.