In front of a crowd full of the best football players, past and present, Lionel Messi collected his sixth Ballon d'Or at a gala in Paris on Monday. No one has won the golden ball more times than the man from Rosario, who moves clear of Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo (who has won five).
The Barcelona forward, happy, radiant and elegant, took to the stage to collect his trophy and give a short acceptance speech.
"Good evening," he began. "First of all, I want to thank my teammates, both at Barça and with the (Argentina) national team. It's incredible to receive this recognition. As we just saw in the video, 10 years ago I received my first Ballon d'Or in Paris. I remember I came with my three brothers, I was 22 and it was unthinkable for me everything I was experiencing. Ten years later, I'm here to pick up my sixth Ballon d'Or in a totally different moment personally, with my kids, my wide, my sister and my nieces and nephews.
"I have never stopped smiling in all this time, wanting to grow, improve every day and to keep enjoying football. Thanks to God I can do what I have loved since I was one or two years old. The moment of my retirement is approaching and now I have to enjoy myself. Time flues and everything goes so quickly. I hope I can keep enjoying all of this, my family, the opponents and everything that I am living."