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Lionel Messi wins record sixth Ballon d’Or as Barcelona superstar pips Virgil van Dijk to award in glitzy P

LIONEL MESSI made history by bagging a record SIXTH Ballon d’Or. The Barcelona icon beat Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk in Paris — moving one ahead of rival Cristiano Ronaldo. Van Dijk said: “You need…

LIONEL MESSI made history by bagging a record SIXTH Ballon d’Or.

The Barcelona icon beat Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk in Paris — moving one ahead of rival Cristiano Ronaldo.

 Lionel Messi has won the 2019 Ballon d'Or award

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Lionel Messi has won the 2019 Ballon d'Or awardCredit: EPA
 Last year's winner Luka Modric hands the award to Messi

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Last year's winner Luka Modric hands the award to MessiCredit: Reuters
 Lionel Messi became the first player to win six Ballons d'Or and posed with his trophies

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Lionel Messi became the first player to win six Ballons d'Or and posed with his trophiesCredit: EPA

Van Dijk said: “You need to respect greatness. It was an amazing year — but there’s a couple of players who are a bit unnatural.

“I was close but there was someone a bit better.

“I never thought I’d be up for a Ballon d’Or until I was actually nominated.

“It shows a lot about how my career’s been. I came late but never gave up on my dreams.

“I had to work hard every step of the way so to be here makes me so proud.”

Argentine Messi lifted his first Ballon d’Or crown for four years after netting 54 goals for club and country in 2018-19.

 Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson claimed the inaugural Lev Yashin award for the best goalkeeper

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Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson claimed the inaugural Lev Yashin award for the best goalkeeperCredit: AP:Associated Press
 Kylian Mbappe handed Matthijs De Ligt the Kopa award for the best player under 21

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Kylian Mbappe handed Matthijs De Ligt the Kopa award for the best player under 21Credit: EPA

He previously won the award in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015.

The Argentine said: “Ten years ago I received my first Ballon d’Or, guided by my three brothers.

“And today I receive my sixth, guided by my wife and children.”

“As my wife explained, you must never stop dreaming but always work to improve and continue to enjoy. I am very lucky, I am blessed.”

Champions League winner Van Dijk finished ahead of Portuguese legend Ronaldo, a five-time winner.

VVD’s Kop team-mates Sadio Mane and Mo Salah were fourth and fifth.

Dutch centre-back Van Dijk hoped to be the first defender named best player on the planet since Italy’s Fabio Cannavaro in 2006.

Messi’s win means the Ballon d’Or award has been won by a player from Spain’s LaLiga in each of the past ELEVEN YEARS.

2019 BALLON D'OR TOP 10

1. Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

2. Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)

3. Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus)

4. Sadio Mane (Liverpool)

5. Mo Salah (Liverpool)

6. Kylian Mbappe (PSG)

7. Alisson (Liverpool)

8. Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)

9. Bernardo Silva (Man City)

10. Riyad Mahrez (Man City)

Messi, 32, also won the Best Fifa Men’s award in September, while Van Dijk was Uefa’s Men’s Player of the Year.

Liverpool ace Alisson won the Yashin Trophy for best keeper and was seventh in Ballon d’Or voting.

Megan Rapinoe clinched the Women’s Ballon d’Or gong, with England’s Lucy Bronze finishing second.

 Messi arrived at the glitzy ceremony with his wife Antonella and two sons

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Messi arrived at the glitzy ceremony with his wife Antonella and two sonsCredit: Reuters

Messi wins his 6th Ballon d’Or. His numbers this year are once again truly extraordinary. He’s head and shoulders the best player in world football. He plays a game that is both joyous and incomprehensible to mere mortals. The award is totally meritorious.

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