Lionel Messi is the 2019 Ballon d'Or winner. It's his sixth award, pushing past Cristiano Ronaldo, who finished in third place behind his great rival and Liverpool's Virgil Van Dijk.
France Football's legendary award, now once again on its own have briefly joined with FIFA for the official World Player of the Year award, is still seen as the most prestigious individual honour in the game. That Messi and Ronaldo have won 11 between them speaks volumes of their utter dominance of the world game this century.
Having fallen out of the top 3 in 2018 for the first time since 2006, the Argentine bounced back in 2019. It backs up his FIFA award back in September and represents a return to his best form over the past 12 months. Winning La Liga and picking up another Golden Shoe award for top scorer in Europe in 2018/19, Messi has picked up where he left off again so far this season scoring 11 times in 14 game including an already legendary winner against Atletico Madrid last weekend.
Messi magic last night against Atletico.pic.twitter.com/ICSzw9AIRd
— Balls.ie (@ballsdotie) December 2, 2019
In his speech, Messi, who turned 32 in June, addressed that it's hard to know how long he has left at this level.
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 retirement is approaching.
In Messi's six wins, nobody has pushed the little genius closer than Virgil Van Dijk, who finished just seven points behind him in the France Football metric. For context, Ronaldo was 220 points behind.
Van Dijk's close call emphasised an incredible night for Liverpool, with three of the top five going to players from the European Champions. Sadio Mané finished in fourth position, with Mo Salah in fifth. Alisson (7th), Roberto Firmino (17th) and Trent Alexander-Arnold (19) also ranked, meaning Liverpool had six of the top 20 players in the world in 2019.
2019 Men's Ballon d'Or
1. Lionel Messi - Barcelona: 686 points
2. Virgil Van Dijk - Liverpool: 679 points
3. Cristiano Ronaldo - Juventus: 476 points
4. Sadio Mané - Liverpool: 347 points
5. Mohamed Salah - Liverpool: 178 points
6. Kylian Mbappé - PSG: 89 points
7. Alisson Becker - Liverpool: 67 points
8. Robert Lewandowski - Bayern Munich: 44 points
9. Bernardo Silva - Manchester City: 41 points
10. Riyad Mahrez - Manchester City: 33 points
11. Frenkie de Jong - Ajax/Barcelona: 31 points
12. Raheem Sterling - Manchester City: 30 points
13. Eden Hazard - Chelsea/Real Madrid: 25 points
14. Kevin De Bruyne - Manchester City: 14 points
15. Matthijs de Ligt - Ajax/Juventus: 13 points
16. Sergio Aguero - Manchester City: 12 points
17. Roberto Firmino - Liverpool: 11 points
18. Antoine Griezmann - Atletico Madrid/Barcelona: 9 points
19. Trent Alexander-Arnold - Liverpool: 8 points
20: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang - Arsenal: 5 points
20: Dusan Tadid - Ajax: 5 points
The USA's Megan Rapinoe unsurprisingly picked up the women's award in the year her country won the World Cup, and she won both the Golden Boot and the Golden Ball at the tournament. The 34 year-oll beat out England's Lucy Bronze and her compatriot Alex Morgan, with last year's winner Ada Hegerberg in fourth, despite not playing in the World Cup for Norway.