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Lionel Messi says he would rather win Barcelona titles than beat Cristiano Ronaldo and capture sixth Ballon d'Or



Lionel Messi insists that collective honours with Barcelona mean more to him than personal accolades as the Argentine dismisses talk of a sixth Ballon D'Or award.

The talismanic forward has fiercely battled with Real Madrid icon Cristiano Ronaldo in recent years to be crowned the best player in the world - a battle the Portuguese has edged more recently, winning back-to-back Ballon D'or trophies.

But with Ernesto Valverde's side continuing their three-pronged trophy attack before the end of the season, Messi's focus is on those collective achievements.

'I've already said my objective is not individual prizes but to get all the trophies available,' he told reporters at a sponsor's event in Barcelona.

'Hopefully, we will finish [the season] in the best way. I think we're on the right track.

'Luckily, things are going well. I'm happy with how things are going, although there's still a long way to go. It's the same [goal] as every season: to try to win everything.'

While the award may not be Messi's primary focus, he is the early favourite to lift the 2018 trophy next with 26 goals already this season across all competitions.

And with Ronaldo suffering a major dip in form, coinciding with Real Madrid's ongoing struggles, the Barcelona star has showed no signs of taking his foot off the pedal.

The Camp Nou side sit 19 points ahead of Madrid, who sit fifth, in La Liga with the domestic title appearing to be beyond doubt.

Messi also masterminded the Copa del Rey quarter-final against Espanyol with a semi-final duel with Valencia the next hurdle in the cup competition.

Since Valverde began the 2017-18 campaign with a 5-1 aggregate defeat to Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup, the Catalans have lost just once since then and are looking more and more the European force of recent years.

While the two domestic trophies edge closer to the Barcelona trophy cabinet, Messi and his team-mates will have a steely determination to wrestle the Champions League from Ronaldo and Real this year.

Back-to-back Champions League titles for Madrid will not have sat kindly at the Camp Nou and with the club bolstering the ranks with the addition of Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool in a £145m this month, the expectation is to compete on all fronts.

Barcelona face Antonio Conte's Chelsea in the last-16 of the competition next month while Ronaldo - who many feel needs a strong run in Europe to retain the Ballon D'Or - goes head-to-head with Neymar and Paris Saint-Germain.

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