Messi Wins Ballon d'Or
By Samuel Akpan
Barcelona’s Lionel Messi has won the 2019 Ballon dÓr award.
The Argentine captain beat competition from Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, Senegal's Sadio Mane and Virgil van Dijk of the Netherlands.
The prestigious award is given by French weekly football magazine, France Football.
He has now won the award for the sixth time after claiming it in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015.
Messi helped Barcelona win the Spanish La Liga title last season scoring 36 goals in the process. He also was the top scorer in the Uefa Champions League with 12 goals despite the failure of his team to go beyond the semi-finals where they lost to Liverpool.
The diminutive playmaker, who has been arguably Barcelona’s most important player over the years, was on target on Sunday as he scored the only goal that helped his side beat Atletico Madrid 1-0 at the Wanda Metropolitano to go top of the league.
He has already scored 11 goals in all competitions for Barcelona so far this season.
The 32 year old won the FIFA The Best Player earlier this year after a stellar season which saw him claim the European Golden Shoe for the sixth time.
US sensation Megan Rapinoe also won big on the night as she was named the Women's Ballon d'Or winner beating England's Lucy Bronze to second place while Alex Morgan of the USA finished in 3rd position.
Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker emerged winner of the inaugural Yachine Trophy for best keeper. The award is named after former Soviet Union goalkeeper, Lev Yachine who is the only goalkeeper to have won the award in 1963.
Also, Juventus defender Matthijs de Ligt won the second edition of the Kopa Trophy awarded to the best young player of the year. The Dutch International was sensational for Ajax in their run to the UEFA Champions League semi final as well as for his national team who reached the UEFA Nations League final.
Ballon d'Or Top 10
1. Lionel Messi
2. Virgil van Dijk
3. Cristiano Ronaldo
4. Sadio Mane
5. Mohammed Salah
6. Kylian Mbappe
7. Alisson Becker
8. Robert Lewamdoski
9. Bernando Silva
10. Riyad Mahrez
Additional reports by Ufuoma Egbamuno