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Five stats: Why Lionel Messi not Cristiano Ronaldo can win Ballon d’Or

Although the Real Madrid attacker is favourite to reclaim the individual prize, the Barcelona man continues to amaze.

This year’s Ballon d’Or award will once more come down to the great modern football rivalry: Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Barcelona forward seemed to have the advantage over the Real Madrid man, winning the prestigious accolade on four straight occasions between 2009 and 2012, but Ronaldo claimed it last year.

However, despite a preconception that the Portuguese star will win it again in 2014, here are five statistics to show that Messi is worthy of lifting the award once more.

1) Ronaldo may well have scored more goals than Messi in 2014, 60 to 58, but the Argentine has scored more from open play. Fifteen of the Madrid man’s strikes have come from the penalty spot, compared to only six from the Argentine.

2) Messi has netted 23 goals this season so far, but the majority of them have been with his weaker foot. The diminutive South American has netted 11 with his right foot, with ten coming with his stronger left foot and one header.

Lionel Messi

3) The La Masia youth graduate’s hat-tricks have really taken centrestage of late, with Messi scoring 29 of Barcelona’s 60 hat-tricks in the 21st century.

Lionel Messi

4) Although Ronaldo is renowned for his stepovers and ability to beat opposition defenders, Messi has had much more successful dribbles in La Liga in 2014 and is way out on his own in the stats; Iker Muniain of Athletic Bilbao is second, not Ronaldo.

Lionel Messi

5) Although Real Madrid may well have claimed the Club World Cup to round of a successful year for Carlo Ancelotti’s men, Messi is the only player in history to have netted in two separate finals of the competition.

Lionel Messi

The award of the 2014 Ballon d’Or is set to take place in Zurich on January 15 next year.

Messi has already won the prestigious accolade the most of any player in history with four triumphs, while Ronaldo has been awarded the honour twice.

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