Lionel Messi has warned Cristiano Ronaldo and other rivals that clinching his sixth Ballon d’Or title has made him hungry to break more records.
Messi’s Ballon d’Or 2019 win takes him one ahead of Ronaldo, giving the Barcelona star the outright record.
He and Ronaldo have won the prize 11 times between them in the last 12 years, with only Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric breaking their stranglehold on the award last year.
But Messi insists his sixth Ballon d’Or will not be the crowning achievement of his glittering career – but rather a stepping stone to more success.
The Argentine ace is now 32, but says he plans to pack the rest of his career with as many prizes as he can.
“I’m going to enjoy this with my family, because those times when it’s possible to do it do not last long,” he said after being presented with the Ballon d’Or at Monday night’s ceremony in Paris.
“Tomorrow we will have to focus again on other objectives.
“I am already focused on the future. This gives me great pride, it gives me a lot of strength to continue my work.”
Messi added: “To the journalists and my colleagues with whom I win and lose, I remember my first Ballon D’Or in Paris, when I arrived with my brothers – now I pick up the sixth, and this was absolutely unthinkable.
“I never stopped dreaming and enjoying football like when I was a child.
“I hope I have more years to enjoy, although I am aware of how old I am, everything happens very quickly and I know that the moment of withdrawal (retirement) is approaching.”
As well as his record Ballon d’Or haul, Messi has won 10 La Liga titles, four European Cups, three UEFA Super Cups and the Copa del Rey six times, along with a huge haul of individual awards.