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Ballon d’Or 2019: Lionel Messi and Megan Rapinoe win awards

Lionel Messi and Megan Rapinoe won the Ballon d’Or awards, with Messi picking up the crown for a record sixth time

Lionel Messi was named the best player in the world for a record sixth time when he took home the Ballon d’Or at an awards ceremony in Paris on Monday.

Messi moved ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo, who has won the trophy five times and finished third in the men’s rankings this time behind Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk. Megan Rapinoe, star of USA’s World Cup winning side, won the women’s award.

Messi, 32, received his first Ballon D’Or in 2009, and over the decade has gone on to become the most celebrated player in football and perhaps the greatest to play the game. “Ten years ago I received my first Ballon d’Or, guided by my three brothers,” he said. “Today, I receive my sixth, guided by my wife and children.

“As my wife says, it’s important to never stop dreaming and to always work to improve myself and continue to enjoy myself. I hope to continue to play for some time.

“I know I am very fortunate, even if, one day, I will have to retire. That will be difficult but I still have beautiful years in front of me.”

Van Dijk came second after a year in which the Dutch defender won the Champions League with Liverpool and was a losing finalist in the Nations League.

“It was an amazing year but unfortunately there are a couple of players … that are unnatural,” he said. “You have to respect greatness.

“I was close but there was someone just a little bit better. I am happy with what I achieved and hopefully we can come back next year but it will be tough.”

Van Dijk was one of three Liverpool players in the top 10, alongside Sadio Mané, who finished fourth, and Alisson, who came seventh. Allison was also awarded the inaugural Lev Yashin prize for the year’s best goalkeeper, named after the Russian and the only goalkeeper to win the Ballon d’Or, in 1963.

Rapinoe beat England’s Lucy Bronze, who came second, and her fellow American Alex Morgan to the women’s award. The 34-year-old was unable to attend the ceremony at the Théâtre du Châtelet but the winger recorded a message and thanked her teammates for their support on and off the field during the World Cup when she used the tournament to speak out against Donald Trump.

Quick guide Ballon d'Or awards Show Hide

Men's Ballon d'Or1. Lionel Messi (Argentina, Barcelona)2. Virgil van Dijk (Netherlands, Liverpool)3. Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal, Juventus)4. Sadio Mané (Senegal, Liverpool)5. Mohamed Salah (Egypt, Liverpool)6.KylianMbappé(France, Paris Saint-Germain)7. Alisson (Brazil, Liverpool)8. Robert Lewandowski (Poland, Bayern Munich)9. Bernardo Silva (Portugal, Manchester City)10. Riyad Mahrez (Algeria, Manchester City)

Women's Ballon d'Or1. Megan Rapinoe (USA, Reign FC)2. Lucy Bronze (England, Lyon)3. Alex Morgan (United States, Orlando Pride)4. Ada Hegerberg (Norway, Lyon)5. Viviane Miedema (Netherlands, Arsenal)6. Wendie Renard (France, Lyon)7. Sam Kerr (Australia, Perth Glory and Chicago Red Stars)8. Rose Lavelle (USA, Washington Spirit)9. Ellen White (England, Birmingham and Manchester City)10. Dzsenifer Marozsan (Germany, Lyon)

Kopa Trophy1. Matthis De Ligt (Netherlands, Juventus)2. Jadon Sancho (England, Borussia Dortmund)3. Joao Felix (Portugal, Atletico Madrid)

Yachin Trophy1. Alisson (Brazil, Liverpool)2. Marc-André ter Stegen (Germany, Barcelona)3. Ederson (Brazil, Manchester City)

“I want to say congratulations to the other nominees,” she said. “I can’t believe I’m the one winning it and women’s football is lucky to have these players.

“Thanks to my teammates for all the support. You allow me to be who I am on the field and the person I am off of it. There is not enough thank yous in the world for all that you guys do for me.”

The final prize of the evening, the Kopa Trophy for the best young player in the men’s game, went to the former Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt.

On receiving his award, the 20-year-old, who signed for Juventus in the summer, summed up the mood at the event by asking the crowd to appreciate the exalted company they were in.

“It’s a big honour to be on this stage with such amazing players,” he said. “I just want to say to everybody I’m really proud. You have to enjoy your evening, enjoy those great players while they are still here.”

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