Messi Wins Record Sixth Ballon d’Or, Rapinoe Wins Women’s Award

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Barcelona forward Lionel Messi has won the Ballon d’Or award for the world’s best player for a record sixth time.

It is the 32-year-old Argentine’s first Ballon d’Or since 2015 and comes after he scored 54 times for club and country in 2018-19, in which Barca won La Liga.

Virgil van Dijk was second – one of four Liverpool players in the top seven, including Sadio Mane in fourth.

Juventus and Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo, who has won the award five times, was third in the voting.

Liverpool keeper Alisson won the inaugural Yashin Trophy for best goalkeeper, ahead of Barcelona’s Germany international Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Brazilian compatriot Ederson of Manchester City.

Defender Matthijs de Ligt took the Kopa Trophy, awarded to the best under-21 player and selected by former Ballon d’Or winners.

The 20-year-old, who joined Juventus this summer after helping Ajax reach the semi-finals of last season’s Champions League, beat Borussia Dortmund and England forward Jadon Sancho to the award.

Messi’s win means the Ballon d’Or award has been won by a player from Spain’s La Liga in each of the last 11 years, including last year’s winner Luka Modric, who broke the 10-year Messi-Ronaldo monopoly on the prize.

The Argentine forward recently notched up 700 appearances for Barca, during which time he has scored a phenomenal 614 goals while winning 34 trophies, including 10 La Liga and four Champions League titles, and a host of other records and awards.

Meanwhile, Megan Rapinoe of the United States was awarded the Women’s Ballon d’Or for 2019, with England’s Lucy Bronze the runner-up.

Winger Rapinoe, 34, co-captained the US to victory at this summer’s World Cup, where she was named player of the tournament and finished joint-top scorer with six goals.

She succeeds Norway’s Ada Hegerberg, the inaugural winner of the women’s prize last year, after starring on and off the field as the US retained the World Cup in France in July.

“It’s been an incredible year,” said Rapinoe in a recorded video message having been unable to return to France to collect her award due to playing commitments.

“I want to say a huge thank you to my team-mates, the coaches, the US Soccer Federation, for all of the support to allow me to be who I am and do what I do on the field but also be the person who I am off the field.”

Rapinoe, who plays club football for Reign FC in the US, added: “I’m so sorry I can’t be there. I was looking forward to mixing it up with everyone but I’ll do my best to get back there next year.”

Bronze, 28, the Uefa Women’s Player of the Year, played a key part in England’s run to the semi-finals.

Rapinoe’s compatriot Alex Morgan came third in the Ballon d’Or ranking.

2019 Ballon d’Or List

1. Lionel Messi (Barcelona and Argentina)

2. Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool and Netherlands)

3. Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus and Portugal)

4. Sadio Mane (Liverpool and Senegal)

5. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool and Egypt)

6. Kylian Mbappe (Paris St-Germain and France)

7. Alisson (Liverpool and Brazil)

8. Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich and Poland)

9. Bernardo Silva (Manchester City and Portugal)

10. Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City and Algeria)

11. Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona and Netherlands)

12. Raheem Sterling (Manchester City and England)

13. Eden Hazard (Real Madrid and Belgium)

14. Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City and Belgium)

15. Matthijs de Ligt (Juventus and Netherlands)

16. Sergio Aguero (Manchester City and Argentina)

17. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool and Brazil)

18. Antoine Griezmann (Barcelona and France)

19. Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool and England)

20= Dusan Tadic (Ajax and Serbia)

20= Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal and Gabon)

22. Son Heung-min (Tottenham and South Korea)

23. Hugo Lloris (Tottenham and France)

24= Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli and Senegal)

24= Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona and Germany)

28= Donny van de Beek (Ajax and Netherlands)

28= Joao Felix (Atletico Madrid and Portugal)

28= Marquinhos (Paris St-Germain and Brazil)

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