Messi, Ronaldo and Andrés Iniesta make up the 2012 shortlist for world football’s most prestigious individual honour, with the Argentina international having scooped the award for the last three years running.
Much has been made about Messi’s on-pitch rivalry with Real Madrid star Ronaldo – but the 25-year-old Argentina international insists he is only focused on helping Barcelona win silverware.
“I am not in competition with Cristiano. I have said that many times. I am competing to win trophies, in the end that is what it is all it is about, helping my team,” Messi told a news conference in Zurich ahead of the 2012 Ballon d’Or gala.
Messi, who broke Gerd Mueller’s 40-year-old record of having netted the most goals in a calendar year by scoring a staggering 91 for club and country in 2012, played down his individual success over the last 12 months.
“This hasn’t been my best year,” he continued. “I am more interested in the trophies the team wins rather than individual awards.
“In a previous year, we won more silverware and that was a much better year in my opinion.”
“When you are my age, you don’t think about being the best in the world – all you think about is playing. All I care about is enjoying myself with the ball at my feet.
“I am happy with how things are going at Barcelona and with the Argentina national team. We need to keep growing and developing as a team but the World Cup finals are still a long way off.”
Stay close to The Sport Review for all of the latest news from the 2012 Ballon d’Or gala in Zurich on Monday 7 January.
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