Lionel Messi has bagged his record sixth Ballon d’Or on Monday. The Argentina and Barcelona star striker bagged the coveted prize for six-time in ten years for an outstanding season in blue and white stripes.
Messi attended the awards ceremony at the Chatelet Theatre in Paris with his wife and children as he succeeded Real Madrid and Croatian midfielder Luka Modric, who had won the prize last year.
“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. “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.”
France Football, the Ballon d’Or organizers, had also taken to Twitter to make the announcement with a video of Messi’s outstanding goals. “Lionel Messi is the 2019 Ballon d’Or winner! #ballondor,” read the caption on France Football’s official twitter handle.
— #BallondOr (@francefootball) December 2, 2019
The 32-year-old Argentine edged past Portuguese and Juventus icon Cristiano Ronaldo and Virgil van Dijk, the Netherlands and Liverpool defender. Messi has received one of the highest decorations for a football player after a three-year gap since the jury of football scribes had voted for him in 2015.
The sixth Ballon d’Or or ‘Golden Ball’ crown from French Football, the governing body for football in France, also puts Messi ahead of Ronaldo, who in his closet has five Ballon d’Or trophies.
Messi had followed his first Ballon d’Or in 2009 with the honours for four consecutive years, also winning in 2010, 2011 and 2012 and then his fifth came in 2015.
Messi had also prevailed over Ronaldo in September for The Best FIFA Men’s Player.
UEFA Player of the Year Van Dijk, being Messi’s closest contender for the honour this year, was tipped to be the first defender in 13 years after Italian ace defender Fabio Cannavaro, the Ballon d’Or winner in 2006.
Messi has scored 46 goals in 54 matches so far in 2019, and netted 36 times in total in 34 La Liga matches last season as Barcelona won the Spanish crown.
Among others, Megan Rapinoe won best female player. Brazil and Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Ramses Becker beat Messi’s FC Barcelona teammate Marc-Andre Ter Stegen to the Yashin Trophy for best goalkeeper.
Matthijs de Ligt, now starring alongside Ronaldo at Juventus, clinched the Kopa Trophy for the best player under the age of 21.