Lionel Messi claimed a record sixth Ballon d’Or award on Monday, beating Liverpool’s leading nominees and Cristiano Ronaldo to lift soccer’s most prestigious individual trophy.
The Argentine, who won the Liga title with Barcelona but only managed third place in the Copa America with his country, added to his 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015 trophies. He finished above Dutchman Virgil van Dijk and Portugal’s third-placed Ronaldo, who has won the award five times.
“I am very lucky, I am blessed. I hope I will continue for a long time,” Messi told reporters. “I realize that I’m lucky even if one day it will be time to retire,” added the 32-year-old. “It will be tough but I still have some years ahead of me. Time flies so I will enjoy football and my family.”
Senegal’s Sadio Mane, who along with runner-up Van Dijk and fellow Liverpool nominees Alisson Becker of Brazil and Egypt’s Mohamed Salah, helped the Merseyside club win the Champions League, came fourth in the poll of international journalists.
“It was amazing,” said Van Dijk. “There are a couple of players like him (Messi) who are fantastic. I’m proud of what I’ve achieved with Liverpool and Holland. It’s going to be tough (to win the award) when these guys are around.” Messi, whose stellar career was rewarded with another trophy, and Ronaldo, had between them won 10 consecutive Ballon d’Or awards until Croatia’s Luka Modric prevailed in 2018.
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