After a remarkable 2019 that already saw him win FIFA’s ‘The Best’ award, the Argentine has become the first player to win France Football’s annual prize for the sixth time.
Messi was presented with the accolade during a ceremony at the Theatre du Chatelet, Paris, adding it to the trophies he won in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015.
Last year saw Real Madrid’s Luka Modric break the duopoly that had seen Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo dominate the award at five victories apiece over a decade.
However, Messi has regained number one status and now moves clear of his eternal rival Ronaldo with one more trophy at two years his junior.
Gerrard: Van Dijk deserves Ballon d’Or10 most controversial Ballon d’Or winsMessi scores later winner vs AtleticoSixth victory for MessiThe golden award will take pride of place in Messi’s 2019 collection, which includes: the Pichichi Trophy, European Golden Shoe and UEFA Club Forward of the Year.
Virgil van Dijk had been tipped as the closest rival to Messi going into the awards in France, but the Liverpool man’s chances looked to be dashed by Spanish reports last week.
The likes of Mundo Deportivo claimed that the Barcelona star had already been voted the winner, while a photographer even suggested that victorious snaps had been taken.
Meanwhile, Cristiano Ronaldo – who wasn’t in attendance on the night – was forced to settle for a mere podium place for a second consecutive year.
At the end of the day, we’re talking about an award for individual performance here and we shouldn’t let Van Dijk’s comparative success in the Champions League blur the situation.
The Dutchman enjoyed a phenomenal 2019 and while defenders are always at a disadvantage when it comes to statistics, Messi has been playing football from a different planet this year.
To outscore everybody in Europe’s top five leagues last season, as well as almost matching them for assists on the side, tells you everything you need to know.
And don’t get me started on suggestions that Messi should be pegged down based on international output.
Stick Ronaldo in that Argentina team and he wouldn’t make the Copa America final, just as Messi would have won the UEFA Nations League if he was parachuted into the Portugal team.
Van Dijk ran him close just like Wesley Sneijder and Franck Ribery did in years gone by, but 2019.