Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi has stressed he would rather lift the World Cup with Argentina than win a fifth Ballon d’Or trophy.
Messi is favourite to claim the prestigious individual award in Zurich on Monday, ahead of club team-mate Neymar and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo.
The prolific attacker came close to being crowned world champion in 2014, but Germany eventually proved to be too strong in the final, much to Messi’s frustration.
“I would prefer to win a World Cup rather than five Ballons d’Or if I had to choose,” Messi said at a news conference.
“I have always said that I prefer team achievements and the World Cup is the biggest trophy out there.”
The 28-year-old has faced stiff competition from Ronaldo in the race for the Ballon d’Or in recent years, but he is not jealous of the Real Madrid man’s success.
“I don’t envy Cristiano, that is a bad personality trait,” he added.
“I am the way I am and he is the way he is. He has a lot of qualities that everybody wants to have.”
As for Neymar, Messi feels there is no limit to what the Brazil international can achieve in the future.
“I don’t see Neymar as my successor,” the Argentinian stated.
“He will be himself and become a great. He has everything to become whatever he wants to be.
“He is not only an extraordinary player, but a great human being as well.”
Messi has made the podium of the Ballon d’Or in each of the last nine seasons and he feels proud of his achievements over the past decade or so.
“Every year I try to do my best and improve on my numbers from the previous year,” he continued.
“Last year, thankfully, we managed to reach all of our goals. It’s hard to single out one moment, my year was full of happiness. We had very special moments throughout the year.
“I feel proud of everything I have achieved at club level and of all the titles and so forth. It is always harder to win again after you have achieved something big before.
“It is an honour to be here again for the Ballon d’Or ceremony. I don’t feel pressure. It is a privilege to be here.”
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