After Barcelona’s incredible treble in the 2008-09 season, Messi was a near-unanimous choice for the Ballon d’Or, his first. He got 473 points out of a possible 480. Cristiano Ronaldo was second, with 233, and Messi’s Barcelona teammate Xavi was third with 170.
Messi won two in a row, although it was less of a consensus this time. Barcelona won La Liga again with Messi at the helm, earning him his first European Golden Shoe award in the process. However, the 2010 FIFA World Cup saw Argentina eliminated soundly in the quarterfinals, while Spain won the tournament. His Spanish teammates Andrés Iniesta and Xavi finished right behind him in the ranking. Messi achieved 22.65% of the points, while Iniesta got 17.36% and Xavi 16.48%. Messi would call this his most special Ballon d’Or later, because it was him and two teammates. This was the first year in which the award was cosponsored by FIFA in addition to France Football, meaning the votes were taken from players, coaches, and the media, as opposed to just the media.
Barcelona’s UEFA Champions League and La Liga double earned Messi all the plaudits once again, allowing him to win three Ballon d’Ors in a row. It was once again a resounding victory for the Argentine, he achieved 47.88% of the vote with Ronaldo finishing with 21.6%. Xavi was a distant third at 9.23%.
Messi made history by winning an unprecedented fourth prize in a row, in a year in which he broke Gerd Müller’s record for most goals in a calendar year with a ludicrous 91. Needless to say, he also collected his second Golden Shoe that year. It was not a brilliant year for Barça as they only won the Copa del Rey, but Messi’s individual exploits were too much to ignore. He won 41.60% of the points, with Ronaldo at 23.68%. Iniesta was third with 10.91%.
After a few years off, Messi was back at the top. It was once again a big margin for the Argentine as Barcelona won their second treble, something unrivaled in Spanish football history. He won 41.33% of the vote, with Ronaldo getting 27.76%. Neymar was third with 7.86%. This was the last Ballon d’Or cosponsored by FIFA and France Football.
Messi collected his sixth Golden Shoe as Barcelona won La Liga with the Argentine at the helm, with Virgil van Dijk second and Cristiano Ronaldo third. With this, he broke the deadlock between him and Ronaldo in Ballon d’Ors, with both previously tied for the record with five each.