On 1 December 2009, Lionel Messi capped an amazing year by winning the Ballon d’Or as the world’s best footballer. And he did by a record margin of votes.
The award came on the heels of Messi’s incredible run with Barcelona in 2008-09 in which the Catalan club won a staggering total of six trophies: La Liga, the Copa del Rey, the Spanish Super Cup, the UEFA Super Cup, the FIFA Club World Cup, and the UEFA Champions League. Messi was one of FOUR players from that team to finish in the voters’ top five–the others were Xavi (3rd), Andrés Iniesta (4th), and Samuel Eto’o (5th).
The 2nd-place finisher was Cristiano Ronaldo, who had won the award over Messi in 2008. In 2009, Messi finished with 473 out of a possible 480 first-place votes, more than doubling Ronaldo’s total that year of 233 votes and setting a record separation of 240 votes between first and second place.
After that year, Messi won the Ballon d’Or in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015. The ceremony this year will be held on December 3 at the French capital. While, as rumours said, Messi and Ronaldo won’t attend the Ballon d’Or ceremony.