The Argentine has finished in the top three in every year since 2007 – a feat no other player has accomplished in the game’s history
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has praised Lionel Messi after the attacker was included in the final three of the Ballon d’Or for the eighth time in a row.
The Argentina star won the prize given to the best player over the calendar year four times in a row from 2009 until 2012, a run which was brought to an end last year by Cristiano Ronaldo winning it for a second time.
Messi was first named in the top three back in 2007 when he finished third in the year of Kaka’s victory and has been on the podium every year since.
The Barcelona star is up for the 2014 award against Ronaldo and Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuerand Bartomeu says only a player like Messi could be included in the top three for eight years in a row.
“Eight years amongst the three candidates for the Ballon d’Or. Only you could do that. Congratulations Leo!” the current Barca president tweeted in honour of the club talisman.
Ronaldo has been in the top three for seven of the eight years, but missed out in 2010 when Messi was joined at the final stage by club team-mates Xavi and Andres Iniesta.