Lionel Messi thinks it would be “crazy” if he won a record-extending seventh Ballon d’Or – and does not expect to lift the award later this month.
Messi is second favourite to win the 2021 Ballon d'Or behind Bayern Munich and Poland striker Robert Lewandowski.
The Paris Saint-Germain and Argentina forward has already won the award a record six times, and despite a downturn in his domestic form over the last year, he did lead his country to their first Copa America title in 28 years.
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Asked whether he expects to lift the Ballon d’Or again on November 28, Messi told Sport: “If I'm honest, I don't think so. My biggest prize was what I was able to achieve with the national team.
“After having fought and fought so much for that achievement, it was the best for all it cost. If the Ballon d’Or arrives it would be extraordinary for what it would mean winning one more. The seventh would be crazy.
“If not, nothing happens. I have already achieved one of my great goals. I am very happy for what happened and now that whatever has to happen happens.”
Messi was named player of the tournament at the 2021 Copa America after having a hand in nine of Argentina’s 12 goals.
He already has his sights set on further international success at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
“I am very excited to do great things. We come from winning the Copa America after having searched for it for so long, from being so close for so long without being able to consecrate with the national team. After this, the desire is great for what is to come.
“We are good today for today. We still need to be one of the great candidates. We are not because there are better teams. We are on the right track, the dynamics are good and the atmosphere is good. Winning helps a lot and this will make us grow even more.”
Asked whether he thinks he will retire after the World Cup, Messi said: “Not really. After what happened to me, I live day by day, year by year. I don't know what will happen at the World Cup or after the World Cup. I don't think about it. Whatever has to happen at that moment will happen.”
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