Barcelona star Lionel Messi hints at retirement after edging Ronaldo for sixth Ballon d'Or Award

On the same day he once again proved he's the greatest player of this generation by winning a record sixth Ballon d'Or, Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi hinted at retirement. The 32-year-old Argentina international has been at Barca since 2001 as a youth player and has never played for another club at the professional level. He has won countless trophies at Barca, including four Champions League titles, but it's only logical to understand that he probably only has a few years left at his best. 

Messi, like Cristiano Ronaldo, is of another breed and it would surprise nobody if he continues to play at a high level for several years, but he knows meeting father time is undefeated. He spoke to the media after winning the Ballon d'Or on Monday in London, beating out Ronaldo and Virgil Van Dijk.

"I'm aware of how old I am," Messi told the media. "And I enjoy these moments so much because I know that retirement is approaching. Time flies.

"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."

There's obviously no need for concern for Barcelona because, as he said, he hopes he can play for a lot longer. Who knows how long that really is, but he did reject a lifetime contract offer from Barcelona earlier this season. He did say then that he simply didn't want a contact like that ties him down for so long, but he has never really felt like somebody who would leave the club to play somewhere else aside from maybe a return to Newell's Old Boys in Argentina late in his career. We'll have to stay tuned, though.

CBS Sports Writer

Roger Gonzalez is an award-winning writer based in Virginia that has covered pro soccer from Europe's top clubs to Argentina's first division. Roger started out his pro soccer writing career with Goal.com... Full Bio

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