Lionel Messi wins the Ballon d’Or: Barcelona superstar edges Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk and moves ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo with sixth triumph

The Barcelona superstar, widely considered the greatest player of all time, pipped Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk to the award at a ceremony in Paris.

Messi regains his place as the most decorated player in the history of the Ballon d’Or, moving one clear of Cristiano Ronaldo, who has won it five times.

Luka Modric’s triumph last year broke Messi and Ronaldo’s ten year duopoly of the trophy, which returns to the Argentine’s hands for the first time since 2015.

Ballon d'Or – Top 10

10 – Riyad Mahrez (Man City)

9 – Bernardo Silva (Man City)

8 – Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)

7 – Alisson Becker (Liverpool)

6 – Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain)

5 – Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)

4 – Sadio Mane (Liverpool)

3 – Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus)

2 – Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)

1 – Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

It caps off a wonderful calendar year for Messi, who also claimed the Best FIFA Men’s award back in September.

The 32-year-old scored 54 times for club and country during the 2018/19 campaign as Barcelona won the La Liga title.

And Messi has started this campaign bright as ever, with nine goals in his opening seven league games despite an injury-hit start to the season.

While few would argue against Messi’s triumph, Liverpool star Van Dijk pushed him close.

The Dutchman has transformed the Reds’ defence since his arrival in January 2018, turning them into the tightest team across Europe.

Van Dijk was integral to Liverpool’s Champions League triumph and each of the five most recent Ballon d’Or winners came from the team who won Europe’s elite competition that year.

Meanwhile, Juventus youngster Matthijs de Ligt scooped the Kopa trophy – an award given  to the best player in the world under the age of 21.

De Ligt of course led Ajax to the Champions League semi-finals last season captaining the side at only 19.

And Liverpool stopper Alisson Becker won the first ever Yashin Trophy, given to the best ranked goalkeeper in the world.

Have a look at the rest of the Ballon d’Or rankings below…

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