1. Argentine superstar, Lionel Messi has declared that he is no longer interested in winning the prestigious Ballon d’Or.
The 2022 World Cup winner made this known while being interviewed by Chinese media on a Chinese stream platform to talk about the World Cup, the Ballon d’Or and Pep Guardiola.
Messi arrived in Beijing, China by private jet on Saturday and was greeted by hundreds of jubilant fans, with his World Cup-winning Argentina set to face Australia in a friendly next week.
“Ballon d’Or? At this point in my career, if it comes, it’s good, and if it doesn’t, nothing happens. “Does Ballon d’Or matters to me? No, at this stage in my life, it is no longer important to me. I’ve always said, the individual prizes are not what matters to me, but the collective ones are the most important to me. The most important prize at the moment is the World Cup. This is the greatest prize for me.”
“As I said earlier, I don’t think I will participate in the next World Cup. I haven’t changed my mind about that. I’d like to be there to watch it, but I’m not going to participate.
“After I achieved the World Cup that I was missing, I am satisfied and grateful for the career I have made, and this is what is most important to me.”
Speaking further, the former Barcelona captain hailed his former coach, Pep Guardiola as the best coach in the world and revealed he is still in touch with him.
“Yes, and he deserved to win the Champions League. He is the best coach in the world.” Messi replied.”
Several hundred others waited outside his hotel, not far from the banks of the Liangma River, popular with Beijingers for strolls. This is Messi’s seventh trip to China, the previous time being in 2017.
World champions Argentina will play a friendly against Australia on June 15 at Beijing’s newly renovated 68,000-seat Workers’ Stadium.
Messi, who has chosen to leave Paris Saint-Germain over the summer to pursue his career with Inter Miami, will also play another friendly match, when Argentina take on Indonesia in Jakarta on June 19, as part of this tour.
Messi has won the Ballon d’Or a record seven times in 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2016, 2019 and 2021 followed by Cristiano Ronaldo with five. Three players have won the award three times each: Johan Cruyff, Michel Platini, and Marco van Basten.