Spanish footballing legend Luis Suárez, who won the Ballon d'Or in 1960, spent several hours both before and after Lionel Messi picked up his fifth Ballon d'Or. He took some time out to chat with MARCA about some of what happened during the coronation of 'King Leo V'.
"He wasn't nervous at all. I also think that the winners already know. He had his photo taken with all of us. We also had our photo taken with the guy in the hat (Neymar) who was constantly on his phone".
He also witnessed how Barcelona executives tried unsuccessfully to ensure that he [Luis Suárez] and Stoichkov - two Barcelona Ballon d'Or winners - be chosen to present the award to Messi. They were unhappy at seeing Kaká - a former Real Madrid man - do the honours. They took their demands to the very top and one FIFA executive told the winner that Suárez and Stoichkov would be ushered onto the stage when he received the award, but that did not happen.
Luis Suárez said that Messi's eyes widened when they talked about Di Stéfano. "He was focused on his kid, who was in his arms, but his ears pricked up whenever they mentioned Alfredo. I told him that I thought he was the best player I'd ever seen. I wouldn't dare to say that Leo is the greatest player ever, but I do think that he's now on a par with Pelé, Di Stéfano and Maradona. It's a shame that no other Spaniards have won this award. I think that Iniesta and Xavi both deserved it".