Argentina and Barcelona skipper Lionel Messi has won the 2019 Ballon d’Or beating Liverpool defender Virgil Van Dijk and Juventus skipper Cristiano Ronaldo to claim it for the sixth time.
The event which took place on Today at Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris, France had a lot of top players (both retired and present) in attendance.
Players like Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski, PSG’s Kylian Mbappe and Chelsea Legend Didier Drogba.
However, Juventus skipper and five times Ballon d’Or winner C. Ronaldo were missing in action.
The twenty-man nominee list was further cut down to four. The four finalists were;
- Lionel Messi – Barcelona/Argentina
- Virgil Van Dijk – Liverpool/Netherland
- Cristiano Ronaldo – Juventus/Portugal
- Sadio Mane – Liverpool/Senegal
Messi went on to beat his rivals to emerge as six times winner of the prestigious Ballon d’Or.
Leo Messi while picking up his award appreciated Journalists who voted for him, his family and his colleagues.
“I would like to thank all of the journalists who voted for me and wanted me to have this prize, ” Messi said.
“Thank you so much to my colleagues who have actually contributed a lot to this prize. It is amazing, thank you so much, ” he added.
Messi also hinted that he will be gunning for more of the award.
“I hope to continue for a long time. I realize that I am very lucky, even if, one day, retirement will ring. It will be difficult. But I still have beautiful years ahead of me. Time goes very quickly, so I want to enjoy football and my family,” Lionel Messi said.
The 64th annual ceremony of the Ballon d’Or was faced with mixed reactions from both players, coaches, and fans.
The second runner up Van Dijk acknowledged both Leo Messi and C. Ronaldo. He also added that he enjoyed a fantastic year of football.
“It was an amazing year, but there’s a couple of players like that who are a bit unnatural,” said Van Dijk, of Messi and Ronaldo.
“So you need to respect greatness as well. I was close, but there was just someone a little bit better.
“I’m very proud of what I achieved last year with Liverpool and the Netherlands, and hopefully we can do that again this year. But that will be tough with those guys around here still.”
Bayern Munich striker, Lewandowski expressed joy at being listed amongst the top ten and also congratulated Messi.
“I’m happy to be here. It’s good to be there all together,” said the Bayern forward.
“It’s something special to be here, a beautiful experience. To win the Ballon d’Or six times is incredible. He is one of the best players in the world, and surely one of the best players in football history.”
Meanwhile, David Edward hit back at fans who said it was an “undeserving” win for the skipper.
“Messi undeserving of sixth Ballon d’Or title? The only scandal is that he doesn’t have more, ” Edward said.
Other Winners Tonight
Despite the Ballon d’Or award, there were other awards up for grabs.
One such included the Kopa Trophy which is for the best U21 player of the past year. Juventus Midfielder, Matthijs de Ligt won it. While Alison Becker won Yashin Trophy for the best goalkeeper of the year.
In the female category, Megan Rapinoe of the United States won the femin Ballon d’Or.