New Delhi | Jagran Sports Desk: Icon player and Barcelona striker Lionel Messi has bagged the 2019 Ballon d'Or award for the world's best player for a record sixth instance. He scored 54 goals for his Spanish club-- that also won La-Liga this season-- and Argentina in 2018-19. Earlier, he had won the award in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015. The glittering ceremony was held at Theatre du Chatelet on Monday night where he received the award surpassing Virgil Van Dijk, who helped Liverpool win the UEFA Champions League title 2019.

Juventus and Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo, who has won Ballon d'Or for five times, was third in the voting. Messi had won the FIFA Men's player of the year in September and he was the top scorer in the Champions League last season with 12 goals before Barcelona lost to Liverpool in the semi-finals. Both Messi and Ronaldo have won the award 11 times in the last 12 years.

Among women, Megan Rapinoe defeated England defender Lucy Bronze to win Ballon d'Or to become the Best Female Player of the year. The 34-year-old had led the US to win the World Cup in France held earlier this year. She had also won the FIFA Women's Player of the Year award, Golden Boot and Golden Ball for being the best player at the World Cup.

Also Read: UEFA Champions League | Messi scores on 700th appearance as Barcelona defeats Borussia Dortmund 3-1

Meanwhile, Virgin Van Dijk, who missed out on the award came out in appreciation for Messi and said that he is satisfied by his performed over a year period. "It was amazing. Unfortunately, there are a couple of players like him that are a bit unnatural, I think. They are fantastic. Six-time Ballon d'Or winner, you need to respect greatness as well. I was close, but there was just someone a little bit better," Van Dijk was quoted as saying by Goal.com.

"I am very proud of what I achieved last year with Liverpool, Holland and hopefully we can do that again this year," he added.

If Dijk had won the Ballon d'Or, then he would have become the first defender to win the award since Fabio Cannavaro in 2006.

Ballon d'Or is considered to be a benchmark of a player, the award is given to the player deemed to have performed the best over a period of 12-month, based on voting by football journalists.

Posted By: James Kuanal