Lionel Messi beat Virgil van Dijk and Cristiano Ronaldo to win the Ballon d’Or for a record 6th time.
Messi clinched football’s most prestigious individual prize for a record sixth time. Megan Rapinoe won the women’s award, Alisson Becker won the best goalkeeper’s Yachine Award, and Matthijs de Ligt won the best young player’s Kopa Award.
Messi is the first player to win a sixth golden ball trophy, moving one ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo’s haul of five. Ronaldo, who did not attend the ceremony in Paris, ranked third behind Van Dijk, and ahead of the defender’s Liverpool teammate Sadio Mane in 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. 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.”
Last year’s winner Luka Modric presented Messi with the award. Suggestions 12 months ago that the Croatian midfielder might have brought down the curtain down on the Messi-Ronaldo decade of dominance evidently proved premature.
Lionel Messi won his first Ballon d’Or in 2009 and continued on a winning streak till 2012. He won his 5th award in 2015 and has now broken records with his 6th win.
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