Paris: Star Barcelona striker Lionel Messi has won the 2019 Ballon d’Or award for the world’s best player for a record sixth time.
This was Messi’s first Ballon d’Or since 2015 and comes after he scored 54 times for club and country in 2018-19, in which Barcelona won La Liga, reports BBC Sport. Before 2015, the Barcelona forward had won the award in 2009, 2010, 2011 and in 2012.
In a glittering ceremony that took place at the Theatre du Chatelet on Monday night, the 32-year-old Argentine confirmed all the predictions that he was the outstanding favourite for this year’s trophy, edging out Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk who helped Liverpool to win the title of the Champions League last season.
Juventus and Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo, who has won the award five times, was third in the voting.
Messi had won the FIFA Men’s Player of the Year award in September, and he was the top scorer in the Champions League last season with 12 goals before Barcelona were beaten by Liverpool in the semifinals.
Both Messi and Ronaldo have won the award 11 times in the past 12 years.
Meanwhile, Megan Rapinoe defeated England defender Lucy Bronze to win the Ballon d’Or for the best female player of the year. Megan led the US to win the World Cup in France in July.
The 34-year-old also won the FIFA Women’s Player of the Year award, and she won the Golden Boot for being top scorer and the Golden Ball for the best player at the World Cup.
Considered to be the benchmark for any footballer, the Ballon d’Or award is given to the player deemed to have performed the best over the previous year, based on voting by football journalists.