Lionel Messi Ballon d'Or 2015: The stats behind the Barcelona star's incredible year

 
Joe Hall
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Golden boy: Lionel Messi won the Ballon d'Or for an unprecedented fifth time (Source: Getty)

Lionel Messi has once again been named the best footballer on the planet.

For a record fifth time, Messi received Fifa's Ballon d'Or award for the best player in a calendar year after more trophies, many more goals and, of course, his quintessential jaw-dropping moments of magic categorically made 2015 one of his best years yet.

Winning 41.33 per cent of the vote (surprisingly only his third-largest winning margin), Messi comfortably beat off competition from old foe Cristiano Ronaldo and similarly domineering Barcelona teammates Neymar and Luis Suarez.

Trophy haul

With the help from the aforementioned duo, Messi and Barcelona collected five trophies in 2015 - Champions League, La Liga, Copa del Rey, European Super Cup and Club World Cup - equalling their second best ever haul for a single year.

And Messi's mantelpiece came close to needing an even bigger extension but for Argentina's penalty shoot-out loss to Chile in the Copa America final.

Read more: Ronaldo personal brand valued higher than Messi's

Goals, goals, goals...

Messi finished joint top scorer in the Champions League (tied alongside Neymar and Suarez) with 10 goals and second top scorer in La Liga with 43 goals (behind Ronaldo on 48) for the 2014/15 season.

In the calendar year, the 27-year-old notched 52 goals in all competitions - not bad considering he endured a two-month layoff and knee surgery towards the end of the year.

His rate of one goal every 80 minutes in club competitions was the best return of any player in Europe's top five leagues to have scored 10 or more times.


Messi won the Champions League for a fourth time in May (Source: Getty)

...And assists

If Messi didn't quite stand alone in terms of goals scored himself, his overall contribution to team goals was unsurpassed.

He notched 26 assists across all competitions - nine more than both Ronaldo and Neymar.

The highlights

Yet the jaw-dropping nature of Messi's talents and the achievements of 2015 can only partially be explained with graphs and figures.

In the midst of yet another no-holds-barred assault on Spain and Europe's defences, two moments of genius in particular stood out and cemented themselves in the football community's consciousness.

First was his embarrassment of Jerome Boateng - one of Europe's best defenders - in Barcelona's Champions League semi-final against Bayern Munich, a goal which has already become an endlessly replayed cultural reference point in itself.

Then there was his Copa del Rey final wonder goal - a typically slaloming solo run from the halfway line which earned him a nomination for the Puskas Award for best goal of the year.

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