Barcelona forward Lionel Messi has regained the Ballon d’Or crown after winning the 2019 edition in Paris France, to take a record sixth award, pipping Virgil van Dijk and Cristiano Ronaldo, as world best player.
The Argentine superstar held off the challenge of Liverpool centre-back Virgil Van Dijk, who recognised he had been beaten by “someone a little bit better” as he settled for second place.
Van Dijk’s teammate Sadio Mane finished fourth while attacking partner Mohamed Salah finished fifth, with Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe receiving the sixth-highest number of votes.
Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson finished seventh but his night was made even more special as he picked up the first-ever Yachine Trophy, given to the world’s best goalkeeper.
The Brazilian was up against Barcelona’s Marc-Andre Ter Stegen and Manchester City’s Ederson for the prize, with Ter Stegen pipping Ederson to second place.
Bayern Munich forward Robert Lewandowski was in eighth for the main prize, while Manchester City duo Bernardo Silva and Riyad Mahrez ended up ninth and tenth, respectively.
Elsewhere, Juventus defender Matthijs de Ligt won the Kopa Trophy, handed to the world’s best player under 21.
The centre-back was influential in sending Ajax to the semi-finals of the Champions League last season – as well as being captain – before the Dutchman also reached the UEFA Nations League final with his country.
Behind De Ligt in the voting for the Kopa Trophy were Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho, who continued his rise after becoming a key part of Gareth Southgate’s England team and Atletico Madrid winger Joao Felix.
Megan Rapinoe won the Women’s Ballon d’Or following her fantastic year on and off the field as she won the World Cup with the USA in the summer.
Behind her in the voting were England’s Lucy Bronze and Rapinoe’s USA teammate, Alex Morgan.
Credit : NAN