FC Barcelona playmaker, Lionel Messi has brushed off competition from Juventus talisman, Cristiano Ronaldo, beating Liverpool FC defender, Virgil van Dijk to claim a record sixth Ballon d’Or award.
TheNewsGuru (TNG) reports the Barcelona superstar picked the sixth Ballon d’Or award in Paris on Monday night, after the FC Barcelona playmaker had earlier picked up the individual FIFA’s ‘The Best’ Men’s award.
Lionel Messi produced a typically outstanding year in front of goal for Barca, hitting 40 strikes this calendar year and registering a further 17 assists to boot.
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.
Messi claimed a tenth La Liga trophy and a Supercopa de Espana in the year but was denied in the final of the Copa del Rey.
He was on the wrong end of a 4-0 battering at Anfield that saw Liverpool eventually go on to claim the Champions League title.
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.
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.