Lionel Messi has become the first men’s footballer to win the Ballon d’Or award for a sixth time in the Paris gala on Monday.
The Argentina forward scored 46 times for club and country in 2019 — including the only goal in Barcelona’s 1-0 win over Atletico Madrid on Sunday. He also helped the Camp Nou side win La Liga.
The 31-year-old beat out Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk, who was instrumental in helping Liverpool win the Champions League, for the award voted on by a panel of international journalists.
“I am very lucky, I am blessed. I hope I will continue for a long time,” Messi told reporters. “I realize that I’m lucky even if one day it will be time to retire.
“It will be tough, but I still have some years ahead of me. Time flies, so I will enjoy football and my family.”
Messi also came out on top in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015 and he is now one clear of Cristiano Ronaldo, who has five.
United States star Megan Rapinoe won the Women’s Ballon d’Or award after being voted the tournament’s best player and joint top scorer as the USWNT won the 2019 World Cup in France.
Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson was the first-ever recipient of the Yachine Trophy, given to the best goalkeeper. The Brazil international beat out Marc-Andre ter Stegen of Barcelona and countryman Ederson of Manchester City.
Dutchman Matthijs de Ligt, a key player in Ajax Amsterdam’s thrilling run to the Champions League semifinals and now at Juventus, won the Kopa Trophy for the best under-21 male player in the world.