Friday 15 January 2016, 08:33

Stars line up to laud Messi

After Lionel Messi claimed his fifth FIFA Ballon d’Or at Zurich’s Kongresshaus on Monday 11 January, the footballing world rushed to congratulate the 28-year-old on his incredible achievement. Among those piling praise on the FC Barcelona and Argentina forward were the ones most familiar with his ability – his team-mates – who are able to witness his sheer talent firsthand on the training pitch and on matchday.

FIFA.comrounds up the reactions from Messi’s club and international team-mates, who took to Twitter to congratulate their colleague, after he was voted by national team captains, coaches and journalists as 2015’s best player.

An honour for me to enjoy being by your side on the field and now on the stage. You’re great and my idol.Fellow 2015 Ballon d’Or nominee and Barcelona attack partner Neymar** paid tribute to his ‘idol’ at the Gala.

“Congratulations Leo on your five Ballon d’Ors. And Alves, Iniesta and Neymar for being in the FIFA/FIFPro Ivan Rakitic, and Luis Enrique.” Barcelona and Croatia’s Ivan Rakitic saluted Messi’s historic fifth Ballon d’Or award, while not forgetting team-mates Dani Alves, Andreas Iniesta and Neymar who were named in the FIFA/FIFPro World XI 2015, and manager Luis Enrique after he was named FIFA Men’s Football Coach of the Year.** 

Friend, you did not have to travel more than 2,000 kilometres to know you’re the best in the world and the best in history.” *Defender Jordi Alba hailed Messi as one of the beautiful game’s all-time greats.  *

“Congratulations Leo on your 5th Ballon d’Or! Do you dare to win seven? #Messi.” *Argentina’s Ezequiel Lavezzi lays down a challenge for his international team-mate. *

*Another Argentinean – this time in the form of Erik Lamela – revealed his delight at Messi’s Ballon d’Or triumph. *

“5 Ballon d’Ors! The best! You deserve it #messi.” *Sergi Roberto hailed Messi as ‘the best’ while congratulating him on his ‘deserved’ award.** *

“Fifth Ballon d’Or! Spectacular! The best in football history, no doubt. Congratulations Leo.” *Barcelona defender Marc Bartra*paid tribute to a player he feels is one of the all-time greats.

*Thomas Vermaelen echoed the sentiments of his Barcelona team-mates. *

*Attacking midfielder and Turkey international Arda Turan expresses his appreciation of a ‘living legend.’ *

*Barcelona goalkeeper Marc Ter Stegen* added in his Twitter video: “Congratulations Leo on winning your record fifth Ballon d’Or, you really deserve it.”