The Super Ballon d’Or, one of the rarest individual honours in football, is set to find a recipient for the second time in history- none other than Argentina captain Lionel Messi, who successfully led his side to their third World Cup triumph.

The only player who has received this prestigious honour ever before is Alfredo Di Stefano, who was also born an Argentine. Di Stefano, who is widely regarded as one of the best players not only in Real Madrid’s history, but in the history of men’s football, was given the Super Ballon d’Or in 1989. The award was given to Di Stefano to recognise him as the best footballer of the last three decades.

What is the Super Ballon d’Or?

The Super Ballon d’Or is a rare award given to the footballer who is deemed the best to have played the game in the last three decades.

Di Stefano was decided as the first winner of this award based on a vote that was carried out by France Football magazine. He surpassed other European legends of the 20th century, Michel Platini and Johan Cruyff, to win this award.

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The award in itself is a more exaggerated version of the Ballon d’Or, with a crystal urn holding a golden ball and miniature versions of the ball adorning the base of the urn.

Have a look at the award right here:

Numerous publications, besides FIFA itself, have declared the GOAT (Greatest of All Time) debate over after Messi won the elusive World Cup trophy with Argentina on his fifth attempt.

Until now, many critics and pundits refused to regard Messi as the greatest of all time because of his lack of trophies with his national side. However, now that Messi has won both the Copa America and the World Cup, that argument no longer holds water. He has now dominated Europe (Pele has not), won the Copa America (Diego Maradona did not), and won the World Cup (a trophy his eternal rival Cristiano Ronaldo as well Barcelona and Ajax legend Johan Cruyff could not get their hands on). 

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It is also only a matter of time before he overtakes Brazilian Dani Alves to become the most decorated player in history. While Alves has 43 career titles to his name, Messi is one behind with 42.