Lionel Messi wins record sixth Ballon d’Or
Argentine and Barcelona star Lionel Messi has won the Ballon d’Or for a record sixth time.
Messi was crowned the 2019 Ballon d’Or winner ahead of rival Cristiano Ronaldo, Virgil Van Dijk and Sadio Mane who were all shortlisted in the top four nominees.
The 32-year-old made the numbers in the year 2019 at Barcelona winning him the ultimate prize.
Liverpool and Dutch defender Virgil Van Dijk placed second with Cristiano Ronaldo finishing third. Sadio Mane would however be pleased to have finished among the top four after an outstanding campaign with Liverpool.
“Ten years ago I received my first Ballon d’Or, guided by my three brothers,” Messi said.
“And today I receive my sixth, guided by my wife and children.”
He had previously won the award in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015.
Despite failing to make history as the first defender to win the award since 2006, Van Dijk acknowledged Messi for his achievement and also expressed delight for placing second.
“It was an amazing year, but there’s a couple of players like that who are a bit unnatural,” the burly defender said.
“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 Holland, and hopefully we can do that again this year.
“But that will be tough with those guys around here still.”
Juventus and Dutch defender Matthijs De Ligt won the Young player of the year award with Alisson Baker of Liverpool and Brazil fame claiming the first ever Lev Yashin trophy as the best goalkeeper.
USA female star Megan Rapinoe after an incredible FIFA Women’s World Cup campaign was named the Women’s player of the year.
By Frank Darkwah