LONDON. — Lionel Messi scored a late winner against Atletico Madrid for Barcelona on Sunday night as the Catalan giants retained the lead in the La Liga title race.
And Barca fans were convinced the Argentine had now done enough to win the Ballon d’Or last night which he was set to receive in Paris.
It was set to be his sixth ‘Golden Ball’ award. The 32-year-old has enjoyed a terrific year for club and country, after staggeringly coming fifth in the award shortlist last year.
It was also meant to be his first Ballon d’Or since 2015, amid stiff competition from Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk.
The Reds defender was on the shortlist, and was one of the favourites to win the award – but reports Messi was told in advance he was the winner.
Messi has five goals in 10 games for Argentina this year, while he guided Barca to the La Liga title last season.
The Argentine has scored nine league goals in nine games – with five assists – having recovered from a foot injury at the start of the campaign. And he continued his goalscoring form by scoring the winner at the Wanda Metropolitano on Sunday night.
Messi cut inside on his favoured left foot before playing a neat one-two with Luis Suarez, before slotting into the bottom corner. And fans were ecstatic with the goal, with many taking to Twitter to demand the star is given the Ballon d’Or.
“Messi winner vs Atlético in the last 5 mins today? Ballon d’Or tomorrow? Just another few days in the life of Lionel Messi,” one wrote. — The Express.