Lionel Messi has won eight Ballon d’Or awards in his dazzling career, but one former Real Madrid player believes the Argentine magician should have one less.
Messi has been named the best player in the world more times than any other player in the game’s history.
This year, the now-Inter Miami player won the prize for the eighth time, beating out Manchester City’s Erling Haaland and Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe.
The majority of Messi’s Ballon d’Or victories occurred while he was with Barcelona, his most successful club.
Messi won his second Ballon d’Or in 2010, with Barcelona players taking the top three slots.
Messi’s colleagues at the time, Andres Iniesta and Xavi, finished second and third, respectively, as the Catalan club enjoyed an era of success under Pep Guardiola.
However, a former Real Madrid player who was named to that year’s Ballon d’Or list subsequently claimed that he should have won the award instead of the Argentine attacker.
That player is none other than Wesley Sneijder, a now-retired Dutch midfielder who played for Inter Milan in 2010.
Sneijder spent two seasons at Real Madrid before joining Inter in 2009 when the club won a memorable Treble under Jose Mourinho.
Along with winning the Serie A and Coppa Italia, Inter also won the Champions League that year, defeating Bayern Munich in the final and beating Messi’s Barcelona in the semi-finals.
Sneijder has since pondered on that year’s Ballon d’Or award, and it is evident that it is still a subject he is passionate about, believing he should have won it ahead of Messi despite being voted fourth overall.
He told the Egyptian channel Alhayah TV (via Diario AS): “It was a little unfair that I didn’t win the 2010 Ballon d’Or and Messi did.
“But, I’m not a guy who cries about that. The Ballon d’Or is an individual award, and I prefer to win collective trophies.
“If I had to choose between the Champions League and the Ballon d’Or, I would choose the Champions League I won, I’m very happy with that title.”