Barcelona and Argentina forward Lionel Messi has won the Men’s Ballon d’Or for a sixth time.
Messi was involved in 63 goals in total in the past 12 months for both club and country, including 46 goals and 17 assists as the playmaker helped Barca to retain their La Liga crown.
“I would like to thank all of the journalists who voted for me and wanted me to have this prize,” said Messi after picking up the award in Paris on Monday night alongside his two sons and wife.
A round-up of the Ballon d’Or top 20, featuring 12 players currently plying their trade in the Premier League
“Thank you so much to my colleagues who have actually contributed a lot to this prize. It is amazing, thank you so much.”
2019 Ballon d’Or top 10
Virgil van Dijk
Messi was presented with the gong by 2018 winner Luka Modric and that means as well as this year, the Argentina international has also won the Ballon d’Or in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015.
The Barca captain beat Liverpool’s Netherlands centre-back Virgil van Dijk into second place, while his long-time rival Cristiano Ronaldo was third in the voting, with Liverpool forward Sadio Mane fourth.
Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk was runner-up behind Messi
“”It was an amazing year, but there’s a couple of players like that who are a bit unnatural,” said Van Dijk.
“So you need to respect greatness as well. I was close, but there was just someone a little bit better. I’m very proud of what I achieved last year with Liverpool and the Netherlands, and hopefully we can do that again this year. But that will be tough with those guys around here still.”
Alisson, De Ligt scoop awards
Alisson Becker won the Copa America with Brazil and the Champions League with Liverpool this year
Meanwhile, Van Dijk’s Liverpool team-mate Alisson won the inaugural Yashin Trophy for the best goalkeeper, ahead of Barca’s Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Manchester City No 1 Ederson.
The other winner in the French capital was Juventus’ summer signing Matthijs de Ligt, who was took home the Kopa Trophy for the best U21 player of the past year.
USA’s Megan Rapinoe has been crowned the 2019 Women’s Ballon d’Or winner ahead of England’s Lucy Bronze and her compatriot Alex Morgan.
The US captain played an integral role in helping her country retain the World Cup in France last summer, winning both the Golden Ball and the Golden Boot in the process.
“I’ll do my best to get there next year,” says the Reign FC midfielder after accepting the award via video message.
Lucy Bronze was runner-up to Rapinoe
Meanwhile, Bronze, the Lyon full back, said after finishing runner-up: “We have the best players in the world at Lyon. We tried our best at the World Cup and you can see the future of women’s football.”
And Ada Hegerberg, who won the award last year, finished in fourth place.