Lionel Messi confirmed himself as one of football's true greats after claiming his fourth Ballon d'Or award in a row, with a massive 41 per cent of the votes. That was almost double the amount of nearest rival Cristiano Ronaldo, a player who would easily be the best player in the world if it wasn't for that pesky Argentinian.
You have to feel for Ronaldo, who enjoyed one of the greatest seasons of his career last year, winning the La Liga title, the Spanish Super Cup and scoring a phenomenal 60 goals in 55 games, as he pipped Messi to the title of Spanish league top scorer. At least the pouting Portuguese can take heart that he isn't the only athlete to come up short against a sporting nemesis…
Roger Federer serves up pain for Andy Roddick
When it comes to sporting bogeyman, retired tennis star Andy Roddick will still be having nightmares about Roger Federer. Throughout his tennis career, Roddick faced Federer 24 times, winning on just three occasions to confirm the American as the player with the most tournament defeats to Federer on the ATP circuit. A former world number one, Roddick was knocked from the top spot by Federer in 2004 as the Swiss began a record reign of 237 weeks in top spot. The two notably squared-off in four Grand Slam finals, all of which Federer won, prompting Roddick to jokingly comment: “This guy has broken all the records in tennis and he still feels the need to win more championships? Come on! Back in school in my day, we had a word for someone like that - HOG! Give somebody else a chance why don't you?”
Federer v Roddick - The dramatic final set of the 2009 Wimbledon Championships
Jimmy White snookered by Stephen Hendry
The Whirlwind Jimmy White is the greatest player never to win the world snooker championship, losing an incredible six finals despite his outstanding ability on the green baize. A painful four of those defeats came at the hands of Scotland's great Stephen Hendry, in the 1990, 1992, 1993 and 1994 Crucible finals. In the 1992 final, White led Hendry 14-8, only to lose 10 frames in a row, and worse was to follow when he lost the 1994 final in the deciding frame, having been in among the balls with a great chance to win the title.
Hendry v White - 1994 World Championship Final
Usain Bolt leaves Asafa Powell trailing
Mention the words '100 metres' and the first name that comes to everyone's lips is Usain Bolt. In a different lifetime that name would be Asafa Powell, with the elder Jamaican dominating the world sprinting scene prior to the emergence of his flamboyant countryman. Before Bolt burst on to the scene Powell was the king of the track, having broken the world record twice and was hotly tipped for Olympic glory. However, come the 2008 Olympics, Powell's threat would crumble as Bolt won an unprecedented three Olympic titles. Four years later and a reinvigorated Powell spoke confidently of his chances in London after dramatically closing the gap to Bolt, only for the 26-year-old to once again blow away his rivals with a stunning defence of his crowns.
2008 Beijing Olympics Final
Phil Scolari makes Sven-Goran Eriksson pay the penalty
While it may not rank alongside Roddick v Federer and Powell v Bolt, 'Big' Phil Scolari and Sven-Goran Eriksson's rivalry is just as fascinating. During his time as England boss, Eriksson was blessed with a 'golden generation' of talent which was expected to challenge for world and European honours, only for one man to stand in his way every single time. Scolari grew accustomed to defeating England after his Brazil side overcame the Three Lions in the quarter finals, en route to winning the 2002 World Cup. Two years later it would be his Portugal side that sent Sven's England crashing out of the Euro 2004 last eight in agonising fashion, beaten on penalties, before inflicting one final blow in 2006 to stop England once again at the quarter-final stage, also on penalties, and bring a grisly end to Eriksson's England tenure.
Portugal v England – Euro 2004 penalty shootout
St Helens can't beat Leeds Rhinos, 'try' as they might
Leeds Rhino's unparalleled Super League success throughout the late 2000s has come largely at the expense of rivals St Helens, who have very much become the sport's nearly men. Despite being the dynasty team during the early years of the competition, St Helens have had to contend with the meteoric rise of a Leeds side which have won the competition six times. Four of Leeds' five most recent Super League crowns have come against St Helens, including the 'three in a row' of 2007, 2008 and 2009.
Leeds Rhinos make it four in five years, as they beat St Helens in the 2011 Super League Grand Final
Is Cristiano Ronaldo as good as Lionel Messi? Should the Portuguese have been crowned Ballon d'Or? Let us know your thoughts by commenting below...