Lionel Messi wins Ballon d’Or for record sixth time

Barcelona forward, Lionel Messi from Argentina won a record sixth Ballon d’Or award for the best football player in the world at a ceremony in Paris on 2nd December.

This was Messi’s first Ballon d’Or since 2015. With this win, he has moved ahead of his rival Christiano Ronaldo from Portugal, who has won the award five times. Messi has won the award previously in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015.

Messi, 32, beat Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk and Juventus forward Christiano Ronaldo, who came in second and third in the voting respectively. He attended the ceremony at the Chatelet Theatre in Paris with his wife and children.

“It is 10 years since I won my first Ballon d’Or here in Paris and I remember coming here with my three brothers, I was 22 and it was all unthinkable for me what I was going through,” Messi said on receiving the award.

“Now ten years on this is my sixth, in a very different time, very special in my personal life with my wife and three children.”

“I hope to continue for a long time. I realise that I am very lucky, even if, one day, retirement will ring. It will be difficult.

“But I still have beautiful years ahead of me. Time goes very quickly, so I want to enjoy football and my family.”

2018-2019 was an exceptional one for Messi, who scored 54 times for his country and his club. He also helped Barcelona clinch the La Liga title this year.

Remarkably, Messi and Ronaldo have won all the Ballon d’Or award between them from 2008. It was Luka Modric from Croatia who broke this streak when he won the award last year in 2018.

Following is the list of the top 10 footballers as per the voting for the award.

1. Lionel Messi (Barcelona and Argentina)

2. Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool and Netherlands)

3. Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus and Portugal)

4. Sadio Mane (Liverpool and Senegal)

5. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool and Egypt)

6. Kylian Mbappe (Paris St-Germain and France)

7. Alisson (Liverpool and Brazil)

8. Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich and Poland)

9. Bernardo Silva (Manchester City and Portugal)

10. Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City and Algeria)

Meanwhile, Megan Rapinoe won the Ballon d’Or Féminin. Earlier, she had also won the Golden Ball Award as the United States won its second consecutive football World Cup. Unfortunately, she could not be present at the award ceremony.

In a recorded message, she said, “I’m so sad I can’t make it tonight. It’s absolutely incredible, congrats to the other nominees.

“I can’t believe I’m the one winning in this field, it’s been an incredible year. I want to thank my team-mates and the US federation.”

Among other award winners, Liverpool keeper Alisson won the inaugural Yashin Trophy for best goalkeeper. Also, 20-year-old defender Matthijs de Ligt from Juventus was awarded the Kopa Trophy, awarded to the best under-21 player and selected by former Ballon d’Or winners.

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