Lionel Messi has won a record sixth Ballon d’Or crown moving ahead of great rival Cristiano Ronaldo.
The 32-year-old Argentinian held off the challenge of Holland centre-back Virgil Van Dijk, whose performances helped Liverpool to the Champions League title.
Messi’s tally of 54 goals for club and country in the 2018-19 season also saw him handed the Best FIFA Men’s award in September, while Van Dijk won UEFA’s Men’s Player of the Year.
Messi warned his rivals he aims to keep on breaking records and has no plans to start easing off in his early 30s as he is “focused on the future”.
He said: “I’m going to enjoy this with my family. Because those times when it’s possible to do it do not last long.
“Tomorrow we will have to focus again on other objectives. I am already focused on the future. This gives me great pride, it gives me a lot of strength to continue my work.”
Van Dijk could have been the first defender to lift the Ballon d’Or since Italy’s Fabio Cannavaro in 2006, but Messi’s triumph meant he had to settle for second place.
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Image: Van Dijk, Messi and Rapinoe all enjoyed stellar seasons
Van Dijk still finished ahead of five-time winner Ronaldo, with his Liverpool team-mate Sadio Mane fourth.
“It was an amazing year, but there’s a couple of players like that who are a bit unnatural,” said Van Dijk, of Messi and Ronaldo.
“So you need to respect greatness as well.”
Megan Rapinoe won the Women’s Ballon d’Or after leading the United States to the Women’s World Cup title, scoring six goals and laying on three assists.
In a recorded message, she told the audience: “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.”
Image: Lucy Bronze came second in the Women’s Ballon D’Or
England’s Lucy Bronze came second as the Lyon full-back starred in the Lionesses’ run to the semi-finals.
Juventus defender Matthijs De Ligt claimed the 2019 Kopa Trophy for the young player award.
Alisson Becker lifted the inaugural Yachine Trophy to reward the top goalkeeper.
Ballon D’Or Results:
1. Lionel Messi – Barcelona2. Virgil van Dijk – Liverpool3. Cristiano Ronaldo – Juventus4. Sadio Mane – Liverpool5. Mo Salah – Liverpool6. Kylian Mbappe – Paris Saint-Germain7. Alisson – Liverpool8. Robert Lewandowski – Bayern Munich9. Bernardo Silva – Manchester City10. Riyad Mahrez – Manchester City11. Frenkie De Jong – Barcelona12. Raheem Sterling – Manchester City13. Eden Hazard – Real Madrid14. Kevin de Bruyne – Manchester City15. Matthijs de Ligt – Juventus16. Sergio Aguero – Manchester City17. Roberto Fermino – Liverpool18. Antoine Griezmann – Barcelona19. Trent Alexander-Arnold – Liverpool20. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – Arsenal & Dusan Tadic – Ajax
Women’s Ballon D’Or Results:
1. Megan Rapinoe – Reign FC2. Lucy Bronze – Lyon3. Alex Morgan – Orlando Pride
Source : Sky News