FC Barcelona superstar, Lionel Messi has reacted to winning the 2019 Ballon d’Or award after brushing off tight competition from Liverpool FC defender, Virgil van Dijk, and from Juventus talisman, Cristiano Ronaldo.
TheNewsGuru (TNG) reports Messi was awarded the 2019 Ballon d’Or prize, being his sixth Ballon d’Or winning, at a packed event held on Monday night in Paris, the capital city of France.
Messi expressed thanks to France Football and to journalists who voted for him, while also acknowledging the role his teammates, both those at FC Barcelona and the Argentina national team, played for him to become the winner of the Ballon d’Or award for the sixth time.
“Thanks to France Football and the journalists who voted for me. I couldn’t have won this award without the help of my teammates, both those at FC Barcelona and the Argentina national team, and that’s why this prize is theirs too. Of course, it also belongs to my family, who I dedicate it to, and who give me such great support every day,” Messi stated shortly after receiving the award.
Before setting the record as the first player in history to win the Ballon d’Or for six times, the FC Barcelona playmaker had earlier picked up the individual FIFA’s ‘The Best’ Men’s award.
It was typically an outstanding year for Messi in front of goal for Barca, as he re-invented himself, and produced a superlative form to claim a tenth La Liga trophy and a Supercopa de Espana in the year, hitting 40 strikes and registering a further 17 assists.
However, he was denied in the final of the Copa del Rey, and was on the wrong end of a 4-0 battering at Anfield that saw Liverpool eventually going on to claim the Champions League title.
While Messi did finish as the top scorer in both the Champions League and La Liga, he was, however, unable to inspire his country to silverware at the Copa America, being forced to settle for third place after losing to Brazil in the semi-finals before beating Chile in the playoff.
Recall Luka Modric surprisingly picked up the accolade last year to end the 10-year dominance of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
With the sixth Ballon d’Or award in the coffers of Messi, the Barca superstar has moved one clear of Ronaldo.
The pair had been locked on five Ballon d’Or awards each as Messi reclaimed the title he last won in 2015, with the Portuguese claiming the two subsequent gongs in 2016 and 2017.
Liverpool defender Van Dijk finished second, with team-mates Alisson, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane coming in at seventh, fifth and fourth, respectively, as the Reds lifted the Champions League and came within a point of winning their first Premier League trophy, losing just one league game all season.
Ronaldo was left in third place – his lowest ranking since failing to make the podium in 2010. His calendar year remains impressive, but his numbers fall short of the exceedingly high standards the 34-year-old has set over the years.