Lionel Messi wins record sixth Ballon d’Or award

Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi clinched a record sixth Ballon d’Or in Paris on Monday night ahead of Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk and Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Argentine moved one step ahead of Christaino Ronaldo after the pair had been locked on five awards each as he reclaimed the title he last won in 2015, with the Portuguese claiming the two subsequent gongs and Luka Modric surprisingly picking up the accolade last year to end the 10-year dominance of the two football icons.

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.

The Barcelona number 10 previously won the award in 2009, 2010, 2011 and in 2012 before claiming his fifth Ballon d’Or in 2015.

This latest honour comes after he also claimed FIFA’s equivalent award, The Best, in September.

“It is 10 years since I won my first Ballon d’Or here in Paris and I remember coming here with my three brothers, I was 22 and it was all unthinkable for me what I was going through,” Messi said on stage.

“Now ten years on this is my sixth, in a very different time, very special in my personal life with my wife and three children.”

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