Lionel Messi won his record 6th Ballon d'Or exactly 11 years after winning the first of his career, showing unprecedented durability and proving that he's dominated the game far longer than anybody else in the history of soccer.
However, all good things must come to an end and even Messi, who has rarely struggled with injuries throughout his career, must hang the cleats one day and kiss his fans goodbye.
So, during the Ballon d'Or ceremony, the Argentinean superstar talked about what none of his fans wanted to hear, suggesting that his retirement is rather closer than we all expected, even though he ruled out the possibility of this being his final season:
“I'm aware of how old I am. I hope, God willing, that I keep playing for many more years. I'm now 32, though, and will be 33 at the end of the season, so, as I said, everything depends on how I feel physically. Right now I feel better than ever on a physical and a personal level, and I hope I can go on for a lot longer. And I enjoy these moments so much because I know that retirement is approaching. Time flies," Messi told the press during the ceremony, as quoted by Goal.
Moreover, Messi was asked about his exit clause with Barcelona, as people worried about him leaving the club at the end of the season if they don't win the UEFA Champions League. However, the Argentinean quickly shut down those rumors:
“Barca know me and know there's no type of problem with these issues. (My commitment) goes beyond a contract. What I feel for this club is (worth) more than any signature on a piece of paper, so there's no issue," Messi concluded.
So if you take pride into being a Messi doubter, you better start changing your mind pretty soon, as he won't be around for much longer and you'll regret not appreciating him while you could.