Monday 16 December 2019

Messi beats Van Dijk to claim sixth Ballon d'Or

Six of the best: Lionel Messi poses with his awards after winning his sixth Ballon d’Or award in Paris last night. AP Photo/Francois Mori
Six of the best: Lionel Messi poses with his awards after winning his sixth Ballon d’Or award in Paris last night. AP Photo/Francois Mori

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Lionel Messi claimed a record sixth men's Ballon d'Or award last night, beating Liverpool's four leading nominees to claim soccer's most prestigious individual trophy.

The Argentinian, who won the Liga title with Barcelona but only managed third place in the Copa America with his country, added to his 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015 trophies.

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He beat Virgil van Dijk, the runner-up, and third-placed Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal, who has won the award five times.

"Ten years ago I received my first Ballon d'Or, guided by my three brothers," Messi told the audience. "Today I receive my sixth, guided by my wife and children."

Megan Rapinoe earlier won the women's Ballon d'Or after leading the United States to a record-extending fourth World Cup title in France this year as they retained the trophy.

The 34-year-old midfielder was not present at the ceremony in the Theatre du Chatelet, where the show 'An American In Paris' is on.

"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," Rapinoe said in a recorded message.

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