Zubizarreta: Messi focused on Barcelona after Ballon d'Or disappointment

The Argentine lost his crown as the world's greatest player to Cristiano Ronaldo on Monday, but Barcelona's director of football says it will not affect his star player.
ZURICH -- Lionel Messi will keep on focusing on the trophies that matter after losing his FIFA Ballon d'Or crown, according to Barcelona director of football Andoni Zubizarreta.

The 26-year-old was the four-time defending champion of the award for the world's greatest footballer before Cristiano Ronaldo's 2013 triumph on Monday in Zurich.

But Zubizarreta insists that the setback will not affect Messi one bit as he continues to strive for additional honors with the Blaugrana and Argentina.

"Messi already knows what it feels like to be here, not only from when he won, but also the times before that," the former Barca goalkeeper said after the Ballon d'Or Gala at the Kongresshaus in Switzerland. "He is aware this is just a prize, and he already said that what matters is what is still to come.

"We are still in January, and a football player always has the stimulation of the daily competition. Followers have the stimulation to keep winning games, to be on top with your team, going ahead in the Champions League knockouts, the World Cup, the Copa del Rey... The combination of all of that is what brings you here."

And the 52-year-old has no doubt that the Argentine will reach his very best once more following an injury-hit 2013, with team prizes dominating his focus entirely in the new year.

"Messi has always kept that character and that competitiveness. We have the warranty for that. Let's not start from now with the race for the 2014 Ballon d'Or," he said.