It wasn't his best year. It wasn't his worst year. It was somewhere in between. Yet astonishingly, somewhere in between is still better than everyone else on the planet.
In the battle for 21st century football supremacy, Lionel Messi's triumph at the Ballon d'Or on Monday takes him to six world crowns, one more than long-term rival Cristiano Ronaldo.
After a barren spell of four years, with Ronaldo winning twice and Luka Modric usurping both of them last year, this individual milestone will mean a lot to the Barcelona captain as he edges ahead of the Portuguese in their engrossing contest which has now spanned over a decade.
Lionel Messi poses with his six Ballon d'Or awards after winning again in Paris on Monday
His great rival, Cristiano Ronaldo, has now been left behind on five Ballon d'or wins
This graph shows the progression of their Ballon d'or wins, and how Messi now leads the race
Messi - 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019 (6)
Ronaldo - 2008, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017 (5)
UEFA Men's Player of the Year
Messi - 2008-09, 2010-11, 2014-15 (3)
Ronaldo - 2007-08, 2013-14, 2015-16, 2016-17 (4)
Messi - 2009-10, 2011-12, 2012-13, 2016-17, 2017-18, 2018-19 (6)
Ronaldo - 2007-08, 2010-11, 2013-14, 2014-15 (4)
It was 11 years ago when Ronaldo won his first Ballon d'Or, regarded as the most prestigious individual award in world football.
He was still at Manchester United then, in a year when he won the Champions League.
One year later, the roles were reversed and Messi entered the history books, effectively securing the title with a virtuoso performance in the Champions League final against Ronaldo's United, in which he scored his first goal against an English club.
Messi then went three clear with four straight prizes from 2009-2012, before Ronaldo clawed back the big deficit amidst a Real Madrid juggernaut in European competition.
Last year saw the first winner not called Messi or Ronaldo since Kaka in 2007, with Luka Modric the recipient after a stellar season with both Real Madrid and World Cup finalists Croatia.
This time round, Virgil van Dijk pushed them close after a year in which the Liverpool centre-back won the Champions League as well as the UEFA Men's Player of the Year gong.
Messi was named as the greatest player in the game yet again after another spectacular year
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Ronaldo could not compete despite having another successful year with Juventus
MessiLa Liga - 10 Champions League - 4 Copa del Rey - 6 Supercopa de