Ballon d’Or 2019: Lionel Messi And Megan Rapinoe Win Awards

It was a night of mixed fortunes for Liverpool as defender Virgil van Dijk was pipped to the 2019 Ballon d'Or by record-six-time winner Lionel Messi, as Alisson Becker was crowned the world's best goalkeeper in Paris on Monday.
But after transforming Jurgen Klopp's back line since his arrival at Anfield in December 2017, runner up Van Dijk must wonder what more he has to do to clinch top spot.
He said:

It shows a lot about how my career has been. My career has been different from the winner here, I came late, but I never gave up on my dreams.

I had to work hard every step of the way, so to be here makes me very proud. And I want to work hard and be here again next year.

The number of votes each player received will not be made public until Wednesday, according to France Football, and so it as yet remains unclear how close Van Dijk was to Messi in the standings.

Brazilian Becker, who was instrumental in Liverpool's UEFA Champions League campaign, picked up the Yashin Trophy at the glittering ceremony staged this year at the Theatre du Chatelet – seeing off Premier League competition from Kepa Arrizabalaga, Ederson and Hugo Lloris.
Liverpool's goalkeeper Alisson Becker has been named the Goalkeeper of the Year
The prestigious annual awards presented by France Football - that has been dominated by Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for much of the last decade – the latter coincidentally snubbing the ceremony with the golden gong Barcelona bound again for the first time since 2015.

Messi, 32, took home the golden gong in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015, and has featured among the top three finalists more times (11) than any other player. And despite an injury hit 2018-19 campaign, he has netted nine times in seven games throughout October and November.
From a wonderkid to a veteran… Lionel Messi caps a decade of dominance
Reports in the Spanish press claimed the Argentina international had been tipped off about his win ahead of the glittering ceremony in the French capital, hence arriving on Barcelona's private jet to collect the accolade, with his wife Antonella Roccuzzo and two children excitedly watching on.

Speaking in the midst of a world media circus and tightly clutching his award, Messi said:

I am very grateful to the people of Barcelona and all the affection they show to me. It's a special day and this award means so much and I am very happy.

The truth is that the routine doesn't allow me much time to stop and think and enjoy all that we have achieved. I will enjoy it today and enjoy time with my family, then start thinking about what is coming next, as I always do.

I will think about all I have achieved as soon as I have time. But at the moment everything is going so fast that I can only think about the next game.

He later added:

As we saw in the video it was ten years ago when I received my first Balon d'Or in Paris. I remember that I came with my three siblings. I was 22-years-old. It was unthinkable what I was experiencing.

Now ten years later I'm receiving the sixth one in a totally different, very special, moment in my life with my wife and my three sons who am I lucky enough to have here with me tonight along with my brother and one of the many nephews that I have and as my wife said in the message in all this time I have never stopped dreaming and desiring to keep growing and keep getting better day after day and above all keep enjoying football.

I am conscious of my age and I enjoy these moments much more because the moment of my retirement gets closer and it's difficult but I repeat that I think I've got a few years left. But right now it seems that time flies, everything goes very quickly. But I just want to keep enjoying my football and my family, the rivals and my life.

Trail blazer Megan Rapinoe completed a clean sweep of individual accolades after becoming only the second female player in the competition's 64 year history to see her name etched on the Ballon d'Or trophy.

England right back Lucy Bronze, part of a six-player strong Lyon contingent on the shortlist, followed closely in second place.

US co-captain Rapinoe however, was nowhere to be seen instead sending a pre-recorded acceptance speech telling fans she was 'so sad and sorry I can't make it' before thanking team-mates, coaches and the federation for their 'support' - despite the USWNT's ongoing equal-pay battle.
Megan Rapinoe won the women's Ballon d'Or, although she was not present for the ceremony
Megan Rapinoe won the women's Ballon d'Or, although she was not present for the ceremony
The striker led her homeland to a record fourth World Cup trophy this summer, picking up the Golden Boot as the top-scorer and scooping the Golden Ball for the tournament best player.

The 34-year-old striker added the FIFA's Best Women's Player award to her collection in September in what has been a remarkable year for the self-confessed 'walking protest'. The win will only enhance Rapinoe's warrior-like reputation, having already been vocal about equality, politics and President Donald Trump.

Juventus and Netherlands defender, Matthijs de Ligt, 20, succeeded Paris Saint-Germain starlet Kylian Mbappe as the winner of the 2019 Kopa Trophy.

Ronaldo's team-mate Matthijs de Ligt won the Kopa Trophy for Best Under-21 Player in 2019
Ballon d'or 2019 winners in full:

Men's Ballon d'Or: Lionel Messi

Women's Ballon d'Or: Megan Rapinoe

Kopa Trophy: Matthijs de Ligt

Yachine Trophy: Alisson Becker

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