Dec. 2 (UPI) — Lionel Messi made history by winning the Ballon d’Or award for a record sixth time Monday in Paris.
Messi, 31, edged Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk, who helped his club win the Champions League last season, for the award. Messi also earned the prestigious prize in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015, moving him ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo, who has five.
The Argentina forward had 46 goals and 17 assists for his club and country in 2019, which included Barcelona’s only goal in the club’s 1-0 win over Atletico Madrid on Sunday. He also helped Barcelona win La Liga last season.
“Thank you to my colleagues from my club. It’s really amazing. Thank you so much,” Messi said. “To the journalists and my colleagues with whom I win and lose, I remember my first Ballon d’Or in Paris, when I arrived with my brothers. Now I pick up the sixth, and this was absolutely unthinkable.
“I never stopped dreaming and enjoying football like when I was a child. I hope I have more years to enjoy, although I am aware of how old I am. Everything happens very quickly and I know that the moment of withdrawal is approaching.”
Ronaldo finished third in voting. Sadio Mane ended up in fourth and his Liverpool teammate Mohamed Salah was fifth, with the top 10 consisting of Kylian Mbappe (sixth), Alisson Becker (seventh), Robert Lewandowski (eighth), Bernardo Silva (ninth) and Riyad Mahrez (10th).
United States Women’s National Team star Megan Rapinoe won the Women’s Ballon d’Or award after being named the best player in the 2019 FIFA World Cup.
Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker was the first-ever recipient of the Yachine Trophy, which is awarded to the best netminder. Matthijs de Ligt won the Kopa Trophy as the best under-21 male player in the world.