Lionel Messi asked if he could win ninth Ballon d'Or in 2024, his response is perfect
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Lionel Messi gave a typically humble response when asked if he could win the Ballon d'Or for the ninth time.
Messi was presented with an eighth Ballon d'Or at a lavish ceremony in Paris following on from his heroics leading Argentina to the World Cup in Qatar.
Messi will be 37 by the time the next Ballon d'Or is handed out but given he is not getting any younger, the Barcelona legend believes this is the last time he will be given the gong.
In a new interview with L'Equipe, he said: "If I dream for the ninth Ballon d'Or? "No, no, I stopped thinking about the Ballon d'Or a while ago, and winning it was never a priority for me, especially now that I have achieved everything in my career.
"I think it's the last Ballon d'Or and I'm happy to have achieved everything and be the player with 8 Ballon d'Ors.”
Messi's first Ballon d'Or came in 2009 and he won it for another three years on the trot before adding further trophies to his collection in 2015, 2019, 2021 and 2023.
In the same interview, Messi also name-dropped stars who he believes will be will be in contention for the award in the coming days.
Real Madrid and England star Jude Bellingham was surprisingly not mentioned by Messi, though he did tip Haaland, Mbappe, Vinicius Jr and 16-year-old Lamine Yamal to be in the mix for the coveted award.
He added: "There may be a very beautiful rivalry in the coming years with players like Haaland, Mbappe, Vinicius and many young players competing for the Ballon d'Or.
"I also think that Lamine Yamal, who is still very young and now plays for Barcelona, will play a prominent role and fight for it in the future too, and certainly there will be others competing for it, new players that we do not know will appear."
Bellingham has to be one of the frontrunners for next year's prize after scoring 13 goals for Real in as many games after an £88 million dream move.