Football: Lionel Messi would swap Ballon d'Or for World Cup

FC Barcelona and Argentina's forward Lionel Messi (left) sign autographs on the red carpet as he arrives for the 2015 FIFA Ballon d'Or award ceremony at the Kongresshaus in Zurich on  Monday.
FC Barcelona and Argentina's forward Lionel Messi (left) sign autographs on the red carpet as he arrives for the 2015 FIFA Ballon d'Or award ceremony at the Kongresshaus in Zurich on Monday. PHOTO: AFP

ZURICH (AFP) - Lionel Messi said on Monday he would swap all his individual awards including four Ballon d'Or trophies for a single World Cup win.

Barcelona and Argentina star Messi is the overwhelming favourite to add a fifth world player of the year crown to his collection at the FIFA Ballon d'Or ceremony in Zurich later on Monday.

He is up against current holder and three-time winner Cristiano Ronaldo, as well as his Barca teammate Neymar.

Asked what he would choose between his plethora of Ballon d'Or awards and a World Cup, the 28-year-old said: The World Cup, of course." He added: "Team awards are more important than individual ones." Messi and his Argentina teammates came close to winning the World Cup in Brazil in 2014 but were beaten 1-0 by Germany in the final.

But the striker said the World Cup "is every player's objective, it's really the pinnacle".

Messi is the big favourite to win the award as he was the star of Barcelona's treble success last season as they picked up the Champions League, La Liga and Spanish Cup trophies before adding the Club World Cup last month.

"Every year I try to improve on the previous year. I'm delighted to have achieved everything I have with this club," he added.

With Barca, his only club, Messi has won the Champions League four times, the Spanish league seven times, three Spanish Cups and a host of other trophies such as the Spanish Super Cup, European Super Cup and Club World Cup.

Messi and Ronaldo, 30, have hogged the Ballon d'Or between them since 2008.

Asked which of Messi's attributes he would like to have, Real Madrid and Portugal star Ronaldo said: "Maybe his left foot. Mine isn't bad either but I think his is a little bit better."

Unlike Messi, Ronaldo is right-footed but know for his ambidexterity, whereas the Argentine is far more one-footed.